Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing

Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing

by Patricia T. O'Conner
     
 

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A fun, focused guide to making words work for you

Whether you are working on the novel that's been in the back of your mind for years or simply facing an increasing demand to write well at work or school, the fact remains: we all write more often these days, be it reports, e-mails, blog posts, or texts. But despite the increase in written

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Overview


A fun, focused guide to making words work for you

Whether you are working on the novel that's been in the back of your mind for years or simply facing an increasing demand to write well at work or school, the fact remains: we all write more often these days, be it reports, e-mails, blog posts, or texts. But despite the increase in written communication, the fundamentals of good writing have been lost. Grammar maven Patricia T. O'Conner comes to the rescue with the most painless, practical, and funny writing book ever written. In short, snappy chapters filled with crystal-clear examples, amusing comparisons, and humorous allegories that cover everything from "Pronoun Pileups" and "Verbs That Zing" to "What to Do When You're Stuck," O'Conner provides simple, straightforward tips to help you sort through your thoughts and make your sentences strong.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"O'Conner uses her playful sense of humor to help us swallow with a laugh the rules that schoolmarms once forced down students' throats.-The New York Times Book Review
"O'Conner is one of those sneaky-good writers: You don't see the effort behind her smoothness."-Salon.com "Read this one from end to end....Imagine what the Congressional Record would be like if bureaucrats wrote that way."-The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Will delight the word lovers on your shopping list...Sassy." -Detroit News Free Press
"Remember Woe Is I? Well, Ms. O'Conner is back and she hasn't lost her touch. This book is worth the price just to read her chapter titles and headings."-Writers' Exchange
"Patricia T. O'Conner's Woe Is I and Words Fail Me are readable, sympathetic to the struggling writer and often just plain funny."-the Seattle Times
Daniel Pinkwater
Lighthearted and funny...It's like Strunk and White combined with S. J. Perelman—none of whom would have had the slightest objection.
NY Times Book Review
Seattle Times
O'Conner's guidelines are helpful to anyone who puts pen, or word processor, to paper.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
So effortless to read...The back cover shows up before you've broken a sweat.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bless her. She's smart about the little things as well as the essentials....This isn't just nuts-and-bolts mechanics. It's the deft touch that makes craftsmen of carpenters and artists, sometimes, of workaday writers.
KLIATT
O'Conner's first book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, is a favorite reference in the KLIATT office, so I picked up Words Fail Me with enthusiasm. I am not disappointed, especially since this semester I am trying to help college students with their writing, and I see that O'Conner has pinpointed problems all writers face. Her humorous examples are welcome: e.g., quoting the dead-parrot sketch from Monty Python to illustrate "euphemism run amok." She makes an interesting point that at present writing abounds in our culture—think e-mail—yet we are not necessarily writing well. Her suggestions get to the center of typical problems writers have: identifying their audience, organizing their material, getting started, revising, and perhaps revising once more. We should all be students of writing, because it is such an important part of communicating in our society, and because most all writing could be improved. O'Conner's approach, friendly and helpful with specifics, is one students and teachers can use. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Harcourt/Harvest, 228p, bibliog, index, 21cm, 99-25610, $12.00. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156010870
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/28/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
258,986
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)

What People are saying about this

Patricia Holt
Patricia O'Conner's commonsense approach is as entertaining as it is instructive....She has written a nifty guidebook to modern grammar that affectionately elbows the reader on every page.

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