Woe Is I

The Grammarphobe’s Guide
to Better English in Plain English

A new, fourth edition of the modern grammar classic, revised and updated for our times. Patricia T. O’Conner unties the knottiest grammar tangles with the same insight and humor—and the same down-to-earth explanations—that have charmed and enlightened readers for years.

“English is not a stay-put language,” Pat writes. “It’s always changing—expanding here, shrinking there, trying on new things, casting off old ones. Time doesn’t stand still and neither does language.”

Do we still need “whom”? Is it OK to use “they,” “them,” and “their” for an unknown somebody-or-other? What about “taller than me” instead of “taller than I”? What’s the story with “may” and “might,” “sneaked” and “snuck,” “use to” and “used to”? And how do you pronounce “grocery”? The answers are all here, in an engaging, up-to-date, and jargon-free guide to the intricacies of grammar, style, and usage.

To buy Woe Is I, visit your local bookstore or Amazon.com.

The Chapters

  • WOE IS I: Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety
  • PLURALS BEFORE SWINE: Blunders With Numbers
  • YOURS TRULY: The Possessives and the Possessed
  • THEY BEG TO DISAGREE: Putting Verbs in Their Place
  • VERBAL ABUSE: No-nos, Yeses, and Maybes
  • SPELLBOUND: How to Be Letter Perfect
  • SO TO SPEAK: Talking Points on Pronunciation
  • COMMA SUTRA: The Joy of Punctuation
  • THE COMPLEAT DANGLER: A Fish Out of Water
  • DEATH SENTENCE: Do Clichés Deserve to Die?
  • THE LIVING DEAD: Let Bygone Rules Be Gone
  • SAYING IS BELIEVING: How to Write What You Mean

Reviews of Woe Is I

“It’s like Strunk and White combined with S. J. Perelman—none of whom would have had the slightest objection.”

— New York Times Book Review

“Woe Is I is enormous fun as well as enormously instructive.”

— Publishers Weekly

“I mean, this is, like, a cool book.”

— Garrison Keillor

“Possibly the most popular book on grammar ever published.”

— Writers.com

“A nifty guidebook to modern grammar that affectionately elbows the reader on every page.”

— San Francisco Chronicle

“The best thing to happen to grammar since Strunk and White.”

— Molly Ivins

“It is the best primer on English usage to come along since Strunk and White.”

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Wow! Who would have thought you could have such a delicious time with a grammar book?”

— Susan Isaacs

“Clear, easy to read and filled with examples that provide a fresh understanding of musty old rules.”

— Charlotte Observer

“Hallelujah! This book works.”

— Des Moines Register

To buy Woe Is I, visit your local bookstore or Amazon.com.