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Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies:
A Guide to Language for Fun & Spite

June Casagrande

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Penguin Books

Published : 2006

Copyright : June Casagrande 2006

ISBN-10 : PB 0-14-303683-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-14-303683-8

Publisher's Write-Up

Who among us has not, while composing a “Dear John” letter, fretted over whether to hyphenate “chronic halitosis”? What red-blooded American guy hasn’t found himself at a frat party misusing the word “whom” in a vain attempt to score with a hot English major? Who can honestly say she has not, while composing a sonnet, wondered whether to put a comma between “here I sit” and “broken hearted”?

Here’s some good news for everyone who’s ever been bullied into believing they can’t speak their own language: The grammar snobs are bluffing. Half the “rules” they use to humiliate others aren’t rules at all but judgment calls. The other half are things they don’t even understand themselves. This series of essays, anecdotes, and flat-out assaults on the grammar powers that be will have you reading just for fun, with a grammar lesson served on the side.

When and if I buy and ultimately read “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies,” what will I learn? Here’s the table of contents so you can decide for yourself:

Table of Contents

Introduction: Grammar Snobs Make Good Prison Brides

  1. A Snob for All Seasons – Shared Possessives
  2. For Whom the Snob Trolls – “Who”/”Whom” and Why You’re Right Not to Care
  3. Passing The Simpsons Test – It’s Till, Not ‘Til
  4. To Boldly Blow – Only Windbags Fuss Over Split Infinitives
  5. The Sexy Mistake – “To Lay” Versus “To Lie”
  6. Snobbery Up With Which You Should Not Put – Prepositions
  7. Is That a Dangler in Your Memo or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
  8. An Open Letter to Someone Who Knows I Once Tried to Be a Grammar Snob But Failed – “Dreamed” Versus “Dreamt,” “Preventive” Versus “Preventative,” and Similar Pairs
  9. Anarchy Rules – “Advisor”/“Advisor,” “Titled”/“Entitled,” and Other Ways Grammar Snobs Have Set You Up to Be Right and Wrong at the Same Time
  10. The Comma Denominator – Good News: No One Knows How to Use These Things
  11. Semicolonoscopy – Colons, Semicolons, Dashes, Hyphens, and Other Probing Annoyances
  12. The O.C.: Where the ‘80s Never Die – Lessons on the Apostrophe From Behind the Orange Curtain
  13. Go Ahead, Make Up Your Own Words – Prefixes and Suffixes and Why the Dictionary Thinks You’re Wrong
  14. Hyphens: Life-Sucking, Mom-and-Apple-Pie-Hating, Mime-Loving, Nerd-Fight-Inciting Daggers of the Damned
  15. I’ll Take “I Feel Like a Moron” for $200, Alex – When to Put Punctuation Inside Quotation Marks
  16. A Chapter Dedicated to Those Other Delights of Punctuation
  17. Copulative Conjunctions: Hot Stuff for the Truly Desperate – Conjunctions to Know and Conjunctions that Blow
  18. R U Uptite? – Shortcuts in the Digital Age and the Meanies Who Hate Them
  19. Literally Schmiterally
  20. How to Drop Out of High School in the Ninth Grade and Still Make Big Bucks Telling People How to Use Good Grammar – “That” Versus “Which”
  21. Well, Well, Aren’t You Good? – Adverbs Love Action
  22. Fodder for Those Mothers – “Irregardless” and Other Slip-ups We Nonsnobs Can’t Afford
  23. I Wish I Were Batgirl – The Subjunctive Mood
  24. Mommy’s All Wrong, Daddy’s All Wrong – The Truth About “Cans” and “Dones”
  25. The Kids Are All Wrong – “Alright,” Dropping “The” Before “The The,” Where to Put Your “Only” and Other Lessons From the World of Rock ‘n’ Roll
  26. How to Impress Brad Pitt – “Affect” Versus “Effect”
  27. And You Too Can Begin Sentences With “And,” “So,” “But,” and “Because”
  28. Your Boss is Not Jesus – Possessives of Words Ending in “S,” “X,” and “Z”
  29. The Silence of the Linguists – Double Possessives and Possessives With Gerunds
  30. I’m Writing This While Naked – The Oh-So-Steamy Predicate Nominative
  31. I Wish I May, I Wish I Might for Once in My Life Get This One Right – “May” Versus “Might,” “Different From” Versus “Different Than,” “Between” Versus “Among” and Other Problematic Pairs
  32. A Backyard Barbecue in the Back Yard, A Front-Yard Barbecue in the Front Yard – The Magical Moment When Two Words Become One
  33. How to Never, Ever Offend Anyone With Inadvertently Sexist or Racist Language
  34. Complete Sentences? Optional!
  35. It’s/Its A Classroom Ditz (Or How I Learned to Stop Fuming and Love the Jerkwad)
  36. Eight, Nine, 10, 11 – How to Write Numbers
  37. If at First You Don’t Irk a Snob, Try and Try Again – “Try To” Versus “Try And”
  38. Express Lane of Pain – “Less Than” Versus “Fewer Than”
  39. Agree to ‘Dis a Meanie – Subject-Verb Agreement, Conjugating Verbs for “None” and “Neither,” and Other Agreement Issues
  40. The Emperor’s New Clause – Pronouns That Are Objects and Subjects, “Each Other” Versus “One Another,” and More Evidence That the “Experts” Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be
  41. Satan’s Vocabulary
  42. You Really Can Look It Up
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (310506) Rating (9/10)

Review by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Rating 9/10
A Desk Companion of Note for Everyone Who Writes - Grammar Columnist Gets Real About What Counts and What Doesn't.

If our teachers, from first grade on to infinity had fostered a sense of fun about grammar, we all might like it better. From the outset, we know that June Casagrande, an entertaining grammar columnist, does just that.

We have the title Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies. Then the subtitle, A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. Don't stop there. The introduction is called 'Grammar Snobs Make Good Prison Brides'. Mmmm. Wonder what's in store? Could this book actually be useful for people who, well…you know…write!

Turns out, it can. A tad costly at $14.00/£7.70 (where were the great minds at Penguin Books thinking?), I say this little volume is well worth it. (Maybe that's what they were thinking.) Well researched (Casagrande credits such stalwarts as Oxford English Grammar, the Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style (and I've read her columns in the Glendale News-Press where she nods to other grammar greats like Strunk), she nevertheless manages to balance her advice to anyone putting his best grammar foot forward.

Find in it her comments on the big fuss over split infinitives, shared possessives, and my favourites the much hated and misused verbs 'to lie' and 'to lay'. No, I'm not going to tell you what she has to say about them. Where would the fun be in that? Fork over the fourteen dollars. You'll be glad you did.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson (31st May 2006)

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