Book Review: Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

I wanted to start this blog posy by stating, “I don’t always read for fun”, but who am I kidding? Reading is always fun! Seriously though, I do like to expand my knowledge and reading is the best way for me to do so.

As a content marketing professional, it was evident that someday I would pick up a copy of Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner. English is a tough language and there have been times I have questioned myself as to whether my grammar and punctuation was correct. As the bestselling grammar book out there, I knew this wouldn’t steer me wrong.

Woe Is I covers everything from pronouns to the possessive to a new chapter on the internet. Admittedly, I was already aware of 80% of what was told in this book, but those who think there is nothing new to learn from it are wrong. What I, and others to whom I have offered the information to, found particularly useful was the chapter “Words on the Endangered List”, whose name speaks for itself. Also an eye-opener was the long list of words provided which we often use incorrectly in today’s language. Those new to the digital world will find the section on email writing useful.

Considering the majority of this book contained rules and tips I had already learned in school, it would be understandable to think that this would have been a boring read for me: it wasn’t. O’Conner writes with a certain wit that actually keeps you interested, no matter how mundane the topic is. Also, there is nothing complicated about this book. Like the title says, it is written in plain English, making it ideal for non-native speakers learning English for the first time or simply improving their skills.

Overall, I have found this book very useful. Not only did it allow me to sharpen my grammar and punctuation, it helped my fall in love with the English language again. Pick up this book for a lengthy list of the dos and don’ts of grammar, and help alleviate the common mistakes almost everyone makes.

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

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