Read Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World by Martha Brockenbrough Online


This book is for people who experience heartbreak over love notes with subject-verb disagreements...for anyone who’s ever considered hanging up the phone on people who pepper their speech with such gems as “irregardless,†“expresso,†or “disorientatedâ€...and for the earnest souls who wonder if it’s “Woe is Me,†or “Woe is I,†or even “Woe am I.†MaThis book is for people who experience heartbreak over love notes with subject-verb disagreements...for anyone who’s ever considered hanging up the phone on people who pepper their speech with such gems as “irregardless,†“expresso,†or “disorientatedâ€...and for the earnest souls who wonder if it’s “Woe is Me,†or “Woe is I,†or even “Woe am I.†Martha Brockenbrough’s Things That Make Us (Sic) is a laugh-out-loud guide to grammar and language, a snarkier American answer to Lynn Truss’s runaway success, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Brockenbrough is the founder of National Grammar Day and SPOGG -- the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar -- and as serious as she is about proper usage, her voice is funny, irreverent, and never condescending. Things That Make Us (Sic) addresses common language stumbling stones such as evil twins, clichés, jargon, and flab, and offers all the spelling tips, hints, and rules that are fit to print. It’s also hugely entertaining, with letters to high-profile language abusers, including David Hasselhoff, George W. Bush, and Canada’s Maple Leafs [sic], as well as a letter to --and a reply from -- Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Brockenbrough has written a unique compendium combining letters, pop culture references, handy cheat sheets, rants, and historical references that is as helpful as it is hilarious. ...

Title : Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312378080
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World Reviews

  • David
    2019-01-21 08:01

    Like a one-woman vigilante, Martha Brockenbrough* exposes assorted crimes against the English language and offers crisp, witty advice on spelling, grammar, and usage to the offenders. Her favored tactic is the open letter, wherein she points out the mistakes in (gently) mocking fashion, then goes on to suggest remedies. All with infinitely greater wit than that bore Lynne Truss, in this reviewer's opinion.Her point of view is stated with admirable clarity on page 3:"It is time for those of us who love and respect our language to take it back. Clear, grammatical communication is society's foundation. It is what helps us understand and be understood. If we let that bedrock crumble from neglect, or if we actively chip away at it in a misguided fit of anti-intellectualism, then we run the risk of watching the world around us collapse."Ms Brockenbrough covers familiar terrain, efficiently and entertainingly, in ten chapters (250 pages):Grammar for spammers and pop stars.Vizzinis, Evil Twins, and Vampires.You Put a Spell on Me.Vulgar Latin and Latin Lovers.$%&*#$ PunctuationNo, You Can't Has Cheezburger? The Parts of Speech and How Sentences Form.Things that Make Us Tense.Cliches - why Shakespeare is a Pox Upon Us.The Enemy Within - Flab, Jargon, and the People in your Office.Rules that Never Were, are no More, and Should be Broken. Whether taking David Hasselhoff to task for describing his life story as 'heart-rendering' or enumerating all 21 errors in Congressman Mark Foley's now-infamous erotic text message to a congressional page ("the word is not spelled 'buldge'; 'one-eyed snake' needs a hyphen; 'hand job' has only one a"), Martha Brockenbrough is never less than entertaining. This book is both a welcome, witty salvo in the war against bad English and a hilariously helpful guide on how to avoid it.*: Ms Brockenbrough is the founder of SPOGG, the Society for Promotion of Good Grammar, whose website is at

  • Lady Jane
    2019-01-31 11:00

    I always enjoyed Martha Brockenbrough's work on MSN Encarta, but I enjoyed Things That Make Us [Sic] even more. This is not only because it reinforces everything one already knows about the English language, but also because it reminds us of lessons one may have forgotten since grammar school. Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, covers many topics, including punctuation, irregular syntax in meme culture, jargon, cliches, parts of speech, pop star and spam grammar, tenses, grammar nazis, and many more fun topics. Martha does a great job at capturing and retaining her audience's attention by sprinkling the entire book with cultural references, puns, witticisms, and sexual innuendo. It works! It had me laughing the whole time, and I even learned many things I must have slept through in English class.Unlike other grammar books, which tend to be condescendingly preachy, Things That Make Us [Sic] has a healthy a mix of prescriptivist and descriptivist grammar. Martha Brockenbrough is one of the humblest authors I have ever known. In the beginning of the book, she tells us that the goal of The Society For The Promotion of Good Grammar is to promote "clean, correct, well-punctuated English"-- NOT for perfect grammar, for various reasons: "First, it would make a terrible acronym. Second, I am far too prone to errors despite my best intentions, and I'd lose my membership quickly. Third, perfect grammar is impossible to achieve in an ever-shifting sea of rules. And finally, there are cases when 'good' is either good enough, or better than perfect " (54). Try saying that to an English-- though I wouldn't. There are some battles that will never won.Martha prescribes how to best abide by the rules of grammar as currently followed in the English language, but is open-minded enough to accept that language is alive and in a perennial state of evolution. Martha is humble and would never admit this, but that open-mindedness is the mark of a true literati. As I wrote in another blog titled "Grammar Nazism, Pseudointellectualism, and Latent Control Issues" ( my link text, only pseudointellectuals from the Internet seem to be the most prone to closed-minded hypercorrectness: " I believe good grammar is important. On the other hand, grammar nazism strikes me as nothing more than a diversion from the main point by people who have nothing substantial to say, and therefore try to compensate by making a show of the superficial. Like good little sheep, pseudointellectuals following rules to the letter, no pun intended. " Even Martha, the queen of grammar, warns against extreme traditionalism in grammar, and encourages readers to accept the inevitable evolution of letters which has been happening since forever, and will continue to happen forevermore.I really enjoy the way Martha debunks many of the myths currently upheld by the staunchest grammar nazis, such as the famous rule of not ending a sentence with a preposition. "If the preposition were an animal, it would be a black cat, tarred senseless with superstition " (157). Winston Churchill, who once said that this rule is something up with which he will not put, illustrates the point and would wholeheartedly agree. The verdict is that this rule is merely a myth going back to our obsession with Latin, and that a sentence can most definitely end with a preposition, "as long as the sentence flows naturally. It's preferable, in fact, to primly tangled syntax. Imagine if Bonnie Raitt had called her song 'Something About Which To Talk'" (157). Fancy that!Martha explains that "One reason English spelling is so tough-- a word that does not rhyme with cough-- is that our mother tongue tangled with many fathers.... French and Latin words have jumbled themselves with the original Anglo-Saxon ones, and why promiscuous English has so many interesting children. Let's face it: English is a bit of a trollop, and spelling has never been her strong suit. Even our greatest writer, Shakespeare, spelled his own name a half dozen different ways. English appears to feel bad about her slatternly ways, though. She has an inferiority complex to Latin and Greek, and many spelling exceptions heed the Latin rules" (60-61). Who can forget a lesson like that? Hilarious! Martha is a superb writer who not only is a master of grammar and clarity, but is also a highly intelligent comedian and superior strategist in the art of writing. She truly knows what jokes and references with which to capture the audience's attention at key moments of the reading. The ultimate conclusion that I got from the book is this: no matter how annoying the pseudointellectual grammar nazis may be, and no matter how closely one follows the evolution of language throughout history, it is best to follow the grammar rules of the day. That is where the prescriptivist part of the book comes in. Martha explains that this is because "there are persnickety people out there who are not yet ready to learn that Santa, Country Sunshine, and the solemn words of Sister Sheila are not literal truths. The point of writing and speaking is to be understood, and if people get hung up on your allegedly bad grammar, you'll fail in that critical mission" (222). A mission that Martha Brockenbrough most successfully accomplishes in Things That Make Us [Sic].

  • Audrie Weston
    2019-02-09 09:48

    If you usually cringe when you hear somebody say 'expresso' instead of espresso, or feel your heart skip a beat when somebody else uses the term 'affect' or 'effect' correctly, then this book is definitely for you. The letters to celebrities will make you laugh, cry, and sometimes scratch your head in profound puzzlement. The novelty wears off in a surprisingly amount of time, and the pages and pages about grammar are often repetitive.

  • Bruce
    2019-02-09 07:50

    I'm very much a word nerd, and get called out (both in a negative and a positive fashion) regularly for my use of colorful--not to be confused with off-color--language. When I saw the title of this book, it seemed like it was right up my alley, and to an extent it was, however I feel that sometimes Ms. Brockenbrough got a little too smarmy by about half. Aside from those occasional moments of smarm, and some repetitious bits (especially the lists), though, this was an engaging and fun read, and definitely a good stocking stuffer for the grammar or vocabulary maven on your shopping list. I would caution, though, that it's best intended for those already "in the know" on the proprieties of language...I wouldn't give it to someone who's more of a striver towards language acuity, as in that case it could be perceived as a slight (or even an insult) to those whose foibles with our mother tongue are frequent and unintentional.

  • Irene
    2019-02-12 11:09

    Read a few pages at a time. As someone who earns her living by correcting people's grammar, this was right up my alley. Great examples of errors, and light, amusing sense of humor in pointing them out.

  • Nicole
    2019-02-17 07:00

    Some words of caution: this is not an all-ages or all-sensibilities grammar book. Anyone who’s offended by sexual references or swearing probably won’t appreciate some of the examples and comments. Included are supposed spams for sexual aids and a section on “maledicta” with suggestions on how to replace certain not-for-the-ears/eyes-of-the-sensitive words. But if you’re of a more liberal and/or forgiving mindset, it’s often fun.Although it’s likely true that only people who already care about grammar (like me) and are at least fairly good at it would read this book, it has plenty of tips for people who want to improve their writing skills. I found a number of examples that refreshed my memory on some rules, helped me with things I still stumble over and serve as tools for tidying up my own writing. And despite the stickler-oriented material, the author also discusses “the 10 false commandments” of grammar and some rules that have fallen out of fashion or are not worth arguing with anyone over. There are times when you get to break the rules, especially when writing fiction—but you have to know what the rules are to legitimately break them.I found lots to chuckle at throughout the book. The author creates imaginary journal entries by Justin Timberlake during his stay at a grammar rehab facility. There’s a section devoted to that eye and earsore of a team name, the Toronto Maple Leafs (hypothetical high-five to Martha for that one). Chapter 2 is titled “Vizzinis, Evil Twins, and Vampires.” The author uses the term “Vizzinis” for misused words, a reference to the character in The Princess Bride whose favourite word is inconceivable. The vampires are metaphorical. We see our questionable punctuation friend, the interrobang. Chapter 6 is called “No, You Can’t Has Cheezburger? The Parts of Speech and How Sentences Form” and does indeed use LOLcats as part of the discussion. The author includes a few cute Star Wars references, which made me happy. At one point, the author suggests vegetarians skip ahead to avoid a meat-oriented explanation of the use of clichés.“…The word grammatica was synonymous with learning during the Middle Ages. It was not just learning about how language works, but also a study of mysteries contained in the movements of stars and the incantations of the mages. In short, grammar was magic.“It still is. Spell well.” –page 238

  • Ryan Dejonghe
    2019-01-19 11:52

    I like hamburgers and I now like grammar. I have always loved hamburgers, but not so much grammar. Hamburgers, at least good ones, are juicy and delicious. Grammar, was for me, dry and boring. Now that I’m older, my hips are wider and my writing, thin. So what is an overweight reader to do? Eat less burgers and consume more grammar. (Yeah, this is bad, but dinner is coming up and it’s the best I’ve got.)To get to the point, I’ve been on a quest to consume delicious books on grammar. Hold the pompous tomato and the dry lettuce, please. What I need is something meaty and flavorful: something that tastes good going in and sustains me after I’ve finished. Did ‘Things That Make Us [sic]’ achieve that? Sort of.Martha Brockenbrough, the author of [sic], gave me a lot of meat to chew and digest. I have no doubt that I’ll be coming back to her book for a repeat course. And like most good meals, I found her company enjoyable—even laughing on several occasions. But for my taste buds, the bread was too much. Each chapter offers funny examples of poor grammar construction, followed by a fictitious multi-page letter, addressed to the grammar offender. There was some humor in these letters, but again, too much bread for my liking. The follow-up writing of the chapter is where Brockenbrough showed her grammar kitchen prowess, cooking up the perfect blend of seasoning and meat.In my opinion, you’d be better served at the Grammar Girl café (where I found the recommendation for [sic]), but for my fellow grammar aficionado, you’ll still find plenty of satisfaction with this menu.I’ll give my dining experience four stars: great meat with some references to keep on the shelf, but a bit too much of that fluffy bread.And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got dinner to make.

  • Shanti
    2019-02-09 12:15

    I actually REALLY enjoyed this book. Yes, it was an adult-ish book. It was also a nonfiction bok. I'm really lucky that grammar has always come really naturally to me as an English first language speaker, but I loved that this elaborated on that and explained things I never knew I never knew. Some of the list parts, particularly in the Vizzini chapter were really boring to me, but apart from this I was entertained and informed by the things that make us [sic]. So I have this thing where when I like an author I want to read all of their backlist, so that's what I'm doing with Martha Brockenbrough to cope with my Game of Love and Death withdrawal. (except I'm not going to read the books about pregnancy). ANYWAAAAAAYyyys I am rather interested in grammar, particularly after we were talking about it in one of my classes the other day. I also think that some of the things this book explained will really help me when I'm editing other peoples work. I liked most of the chapters-- the one about parts of speech was particularly awesome, and tenses was great too. I actually think that this understanding can be really helpful to you if you want to improve your writing's clarity. I also thought it was really funny at times, particularly the letters; though, of course, some of the pop culture references flew WAY over my head because I'm a teenager and wasn't paying attention to these things whatever it is-- eight?-- years ago because I was living in a place without wifi. Hopefully the tips in The Things that Make Us [Sic] can wean me of my em dash addiction (not likely though)Anyway, what I'm saying is: this is my go to book for being both grammatical and entertaining. I hope these thoughts have given you an idea of why, but if they haven't that's fine. I was mostly writing it for myself anyway.

  • Michael
    2019-01-27 04:56

    At the close of this fine, often hilarious primer on grammar, the author notes that "People who buy grammar books don't usually need them, except to slam down upon the heads of others," and that's true—the people who have the most to learn don't bother reading, let alone reading grammar books.But if they did, this is one I'd put into their hands. A far better book than the inconsistent, mistake-riddled Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (see Louis Menand rip it into tiny little pieces here:, mostly because Martha Brockenbrough is much, much funnier. Laughed out loud more times on the subway while reading this than I do most comic novels. (For example, in response to a questionable bit from Gertrude Stein praising mistaken adverbs, Brockenbrough writes, "This is a bit like saying that possums are interesting because they are so often accidentally squashed by cars.... We beg to differ; possums are interesting only becuase they have prehensile tails and the face of Satan.") Brockenbrough knows the range of writing on grammar (Strunk & White, Garner, and on and on pop up in passing reference), but she also knows current pop culture, and so she pulls examples from Courtney Love and the Decemberists and other (relatively) familiar sources. And evcen though finding errors on Courtney Love's blog is not a huge challenge, Brockenbrough makes such great comic hay with them that the reader looks forward to the next bit of prose she'll skewer.Excellent.

  • Kim
    2019-02-04 11:56

    Really, 4 1/2 stars. I am nervous to write a review for this book because I am sure I will make some sort of grammatical error, thus demonstrating that I didn't learn ANYTHING. I thought this book was fabulous -- everything a grammar-loving nerd could want. If you consider yourself somewhat proficient in grammar (ahem), you will enjoy smiling with smug satisfaction every time the author addresses a grammar faux pas that bothers you too. I actually applauded when she ranted about those signs people hang up outside their houses with their family name written as a possessive instead of a plural. There is a house next door to Sofie's piano teacher with a lamppost sign reading "The Reuker's" (name changed to protect the guilty), and it makes me cringe every time I see it. The letters to grammar-offending celebrities are also great -- grammar rehab for Justin Timberlake -- excellent!This book also works as a reference guide, with lists of commonly misspelled words, words that are often mixed-up (insure/ensure, affect/effect), and there's even a handy to chart to help with the whole lie/lay thing. (I'll never get it right!!)Throw in a lot of references to The Princess Bride, a list of the Latin roots of Harry Potter spells, and a super snarky sense of humor, and you've got yourself a winner.I'll end with my favorite quote from the book, "You can't make the past perfect, but there's no need to make the present tense!" Okay, maybe I should have gone with 5 stars...

  • Sally
    2019-01-27 05:57

    I'm giving this book a combination of 5 stars (for wit) and 2 stars (for juvenile "humor")Holy Cow, this book is vulgar! I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't the picking apart of adult product spam email grammar! There's just no reason that this book had to so frequently focus on juvenile, crude material. The world is full enough of grammar-phobes without using the words, well, I won't subject you to that. Suffice to say that page one gets us off to a PG-13 start, and rarely calms down. The one thing that I'm glad I didn't miss is the "poem" created from George W. Bush remarks. High brow entertainment, I tell you!Make the Pie HigherI think we all agree, the past is over.This is still a dangerous world.It's a world of madmenAnd uncertaintyAnd potential mental losses.Rarely is the question askedIs our children learning?Will the highways of the internetBecome more few?How many hands have I shaked?They misunderestimate me.I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.I know that the human being and the fishCan coexist.Families is where our nation finds hopeWhere our wings take dream.Put food on your family!Knock down the tollbooth!Vulcanize society!Make the pie higher!Make the pie higher!

  • Helene
    2019-02-02 05:52

    Hilarious and informative book all about grammar and the strange/amusing/dumb/etc. mistakes that people of all walks of life make. Actually, the book helped me figure out a few things that I need to improve upon in my vocabulary/grammar...such as cutting flabby words! Brockenbrough's humor is very witty; the book was easy to read and convenient to carry around on my bus rides. However, as time passes by, the references in the book may become outdated/pertain to only a certain age group/generation (there are references to Justin Timberlake, George W. Bush, and so forth). Also, there were a few parts where I became confused (mainly in the last few chapters about jargon...but maybe that was the point). Overall, though, I liked this book a lot, and would recommend it to any and all grammar lovers out there. =)(P.S. I hope my review has good grammar in it, so Ms. Brockenbrough won't beat the book over my head.....)

  • Katie
    2019-02-02 12:09

    I probably would have liked this book better if I hadn't already read and loved Eats, Shoots & Leaves first and if it didn't contain several errors. Errors happen in books; I understand that. But in a book about grammar and style, it's hard to not find typos a bit jarring. Overall, this book was enjoyable and fairly informative. The letters to celebrity grammar offenders were the book's highlights. The organization is a bit confusing at times and certain sections could have been shortened or omitted (Do we really need pages and pages of Latin phrases?). If fact, the book as a whole could have benefited from some more cutting. While some sections are clever and fun, the book begins to drag and simply goes on too long.Though this book doesn't have the issue of British English versus American English, I'd suggest Leaves if you're looking for a snarky grammar book and Things That Make Us (Sic) if you're looking for a second snarky book.

  • Michelle Cristiani
    2019-02-01 10:02

    I loved this book. You know, it's really hard to write a book that's funny but doesn't try too hard. Brockenbrough pulls it off. She is a smart writer, all around. I learned a few things too, which for me as a teacher of grammar is a lot of fun. Why don't I give it 5 stars? Well, it was published in 2008, which means it was written just before 2008, and there are a couple of political references in here which turn me off. They aren't many, and they aren't (too) overt, but they're enough that I wouldn't feel comfortable ordering this book for my class. This disappoints me because otherwise it's a perfectly fun grammar manual for the level I teach. As it is, we all know that George W. Bush was an easy target when it came to poorly-worded quotes; it's too easy. The book would be just as effective without it, and now it's dated and politicized. It's the only thing that makes it less than perfect.

  • Carolyn James
    2019-02-06 05:10

    As a teacher, I know it's pretty hard to make Grammar an engaging subject to teach for twenty minutes, so I wasn't sure how I'd fair reading a whole novel on it. I read this book to help improve my own grammar skills to better teach my students. My background on grammar has pretty much been a "monkey see, monkey do" kind of approach. I could read a sentence and know when it felt wrong, but I couldn't name to you all the specific reasons and proper names of why. Since I have begun teaching ESL students, saying "that doesn't sound right" isn't cutting it. I need specifics, names and labels. This book gave me that in a humorous fashion that didn't make me want to loose my mind when I would sit and read this after a full day teaching. I gave it four stars because some chapters verged on dragging but overall I was extremely impressed. Worth a look it you work in education!

  • Blair Conrad
    2019-01-24 09:56

    First off, there were a few more spelling/grammatical/copyediting errors than I’d’ve hoped in such a work. Worse, some came along fairly early, before the author had built up any karma.That being said, overall the book is entertaining, educational, and funny. There are a few sections that devolve into laundry lists of terms or rules, but for the most part, the knowledge imparted is interesting. I enjoyed the letters that SPOGG has sent out to various personalities (including Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Some of the examples were more risqué than I’m used to in a grammar-related book, but all the more memorable for that.Acid test – I was reviewing a document at work today and thought, “What would Martha Brockenrough say about this construction?” so points gained there.

  • Kathrina
    2019-02-11 06:11

    If anyone still teaches grammar in the classroom, this would be good source material. Brockenbrough brings nice humor to a potentially dull subject, but she's absolutely right when she says no one who voluntarily reads a book on grammar truly needs it. I knew most of this stuff before (though I don't always remember to apply it), but she does write engagingly. My big gripe is that she does not address the President's Day/Presidents' Day controversy (yes, it still bothers me!), which is all I really wanted to know and remains unresolved, though anyone with any sense knows what's correct (Presidents' Day). duh.

  • Brian Sison
    2019-02-02 11:04

    An American, more vulgar, more sarcastic version of Eats, Shoots & Leaves The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. This is another book dedicated to people that cringe whenever they see signs such as, "Smile, your on camera." The author highlights big offenders in grammar, including Viagra Spam emails, sex-texting politicians, and back-country store owners everywhere.The second half of the book is a very handy reference book for anyone that writes in the English lanuage on a regular basis.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-27 11:55

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I love grammar. I just love it. So shouldn't I love the person who founded National Grammar Day and SPOGG? To be frank, she began to grate on my nerves. This book has been compared to Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, but I find Truss's book a million times more endearing. I feel like Martha Brockenbrough isn't on my side--like she's criticizing my grammar with a gleeful [sic]. Though I learned some pretty helpful things reading this book (and there are some mistakes that I will hopefully never make after reading it!), reading it became almost a chore--it became something I *should* do, not something I was delighted to do.

  • Schnaucl
    2019-01-18 06:07

    I really enjoyed this book. It was straightforward and entertaining. It's a book about grammar in the same vein as Eats Shoots Leaves. Among other things the book contains letters from SPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar) to various grammar offenders including several musicians and politicians. She also imagines at least one celebrity in grammar rehab which was quite amusing.

  • Marisa
    2019-01-27 05:11

    Half of this book is commentary on the grammar problems of our society. That's what I expected to be in this book. I enjoyed her commentary, as I enjoy it in her column(s?).The other half of this book is How To Use Proper Grammar. I may have learned one or two things, but most of it was so basic that it made the book a chore to read. The people that need the textbook half won't get the commentary. The people that are educated enough to enjoy the commentary don't need the textbook half. It probably should have been two separate books.

  • Silent_count
    2019-01-18 07:12

    "People who buy grammar books usually don't need them..."The above is quoted from this book and is also the strongest argument I can make against reading it.It's an unusual creature. As a reference book it contains too much 'fluff' and as a leisure read it contains too much reference material. On the whole, I did enjoy it but I suspect I'm one of the few.If you find yourself with a little free time and wish your grammar was little stronger, or just want a laugh how bad some others are, you could do worse than spend it discovering what makes Ms Brokenbrough sic.

  • Victoria
    2019-01-29 11:54

    If you're one of the crazy people who find errors in your everyday travels i.e. the following:+ Martini's = $3.00,+ Manager's find they're not using there talents wisely,+ I am over hear+ ...and any other misspellings, not typos...especially when used on menus, signs or any advertising then this book is for you. I don't mean to be a nitpicker, but these errors just drive me bonkers and they just leap out from wherever they have been placed. NOTE: any errors above are intentional...just to see if you are paying attention! :D

  • Alison
    2019-01-19 09:55

    Things That Make Us [Sic:], besides having an awesome title, is a book about grammar and punctuation in the real world. Brockenbrough lays out the fundamental rules of grammar and punctuation in an easy-to-understand way and throws in a few references to Princess Bride and lesser pop culture, too. So if, say, you have no idea what a comma splice is or whether to insure or ensure, you can read this book and find more...

  • Linda
    2019-01-22 07:57

    A funny yet enlightening book which deftly explains some of the confusing words, phrases, and punctuation dilemmas of the English language. The author is the founder of TSPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar - and PLEASE don't misspell that last word). Brockenbrough writes letters to people who offend her - grammatically speaking. She includes copies of her letters in the book. She even includes the response she received after writing to Queen Elizabeth II. Whether you know grammar or only know of Kelsey Grammer, this book is enjoyable.

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    2019-01-19 11:59

    “The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, The White House, and the world.” A lighthearted poke at grammar mistakes and how to correct them, this book is an informative read as well as a fun one. It does allow readers to use some less formal grammar that may be technically incorrect but sounds less pompous than the correct grammar. If you don't know how to speak proper no more, this is a good refresher.

  • Crystal
    2019-01-29 11:12

    I laughed out loud on the bus and the train - three different times. The train is okay, but there is a much higher probability of knowing people on the bus - but still, there's some funny stuff in here. The only thing I didn't like was some of the editing errors - while we may forgive a slip-up in the New York Times every now and then, it is less forgivable in a book ostensibly about correct grammar. Still, I would be proud to be a member of SPOGG!

  • Becky
    2019-02-14 09:46

    Some literary agency in New York sent me this book with a note that said, "We thought you deserved this." Once I got over being creeped out, I enjoyed the book. Although, ironically, I did find three errors in it. This book is funny, but it tries a little too hard. For more entertaining -- and informative -- books like this, look to Bill Walsh's Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style.

  • Richard Martin
    2019-02-11 08:00

    Another in the current plethora of grammar books. The letters from The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar are the book's highlight. Brokenbrough does a nice job of providing historical background to grammar "rules" and marks of punctuation including the interrobang (an exclamation point on top of a question mark for questions with emphasis.). She also provides "Clip and Send" letters for the reader's use. I dint reed the grammer sections 'cause I new most of that stuff allready.

  • Kristie
    2019-02-04 06:02

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the author's sense of humor (e.g. the section where she fixes the grammar of some very naughty email messages is hilarious) and her modern references to Justin Timberlake and Courtney Love, among others, makes it feel relevant. If you love grammar, pick it up!