Academic journal article et Cetera

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

Academic journal article et Cetera

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English

Article excerpt

Patricia T. O'Conner. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York: Putnam, 1996.

Patricia T. O'Conner, an editor at The New York Times Book Review, tells us English is not easy, as languages go. It originated 1500 years ago when Germanic tribes (mainly Angles and Saxons) invaded Britain, a Celtic-speaking land already colonized by Latin-speaking Romans. Into this Anglo-Saxon broth went dollops of French, Italian, Spanish, German, Danish, Greek, and more Latin. Within a few hundred years, English was an extraordinarily complex stew. Today it's believed to have the largest lexicon (that is, the most words) of any modern language - and it's still evolving

Woe is I offers an amusing but sensible approach to English grammar for intelligent people who probably have never diagrammed a sentence and never will. (For those interested, a glossary of grammatical terms is provided.) Its chapters include "Therapy for pronoun anxiety," "The possessives and the possessed," "The joy of punctuation," and "How to say what you mean. …

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