It provides just enough discussion and explanation for things to make sense, while omitting the tedious jargonfilled details that make your eyes cross. The point is that no one is exempt from having their pronouns secondguessed. I have been reading a number of grammar, writing, and style books. Woe is me definition in the cambridge english dictionary. Hundreds of years after the first ophelia cried woe is me, only a pedant would argue that shakespeare should have written woe is i or woe is unto me. In the case of the book s title,the butt of the joke is the old rule of english grammar now considered excessively formal that required the nominative case after the verb to be. A revised and updated edition of the iconic grammar guide for the 21st century. Enter woe is i, a firstrate grammar reference book or read several pages at once. A grammarphobes guide to better english in plain english.
The expression has been acceptable in english for at least 800 years. Because i appreciate beautiful, precise language, i enjoy an occasional refresher course in how to use it. Never mind that the rules of english grammar werent even formalized in shakespeares day. The grammarphobes guide to better english in plain englishthird edition possibly the most popular book on grammar ever published. Woe is i was written to help those who are intimidated by correct grammar usage. Woe is me is just another one of the many phrases in english that are handed down whole to us from history with bits of old grammar locked in place. It seems us americans aint talkin too good, dont write worth a lick and are worser with emails. Oconner unties the knottiest grammar tangles with the. Discussion is brief and concise, and much more engaging than the grammar books you may remember. She said she chose the title to point out that only a pompous twit would insist on correct usage, since the phrase woe is me has been acceptable in english for generations. In the phrase woe is me, woe is the subject and me is a dative object, something that isnt allowed in english today. Oconnors woe is i is a great book and stands out among others.
Today the phrase woe is me is pretty fixed, but some past variations on the phrase make the meaning a little clearer. A little life by hanya yanagihara, corrupt by penelope douglas, on dublin street by samantha young, wuthering heights by emil. The grammarphobes guide to better english in plain english fourth edition. Oconners grammar book woe is i instead of woe is me. As the bestselling grammar book out there, i knew this wouldnt steer me wrong. The grammarphobes guide to better english in plain english fourth edition 4th edition. For 400 years before shakespeare, the written record shows people using woe is me, woe is us, woe is unto me, woe to them. The grammarphobes guide to better english in plain english. Our grammar, punctuation and spelling areis abysmal. Although the book is meant for novices, it was just as enjoyable to someone like me who knows quite a lot about english.1072 1124 441 497 1137 472 523 932 1203 1486 1058 1232 39 969 1467 487 928 410 26 471 1199 1176 1149 1000 1470 1068 1394 1308 223 1345 1022 206