things that make us (sic) (martha brockenbrough) love

things that make us (sic) (martha brockenbrough)

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  • 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.

    $%&*#$ Punctuation

    No, 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.

    January 18, 2010