Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Things That Make Us (Sic)

Things That Make Us (Sic)

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World

Martha Brockenbrough

St. Martin's Press




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 "disorientated"...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Brockenbrough has written a unique compendium combining letters, pop culture references, handy cheat sheets, rants, and historical references that is as helpful as it is hilarious.


Chapter One

Grammar for Spammers and Pop Stars

Dear Noah R. Estrada:

You accidentally sent us an e-mail meant for a Mr. Bret U. Sandoval. Ordinarily, we'd ignore this sort of thing, but we were so concerned for your...


Praise for Things That Make Us (Sic)

“Martha Brockenbrough is hilarious.” —June Casagrande, author of Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies

“A smart, up-to-the-minute take on the world of words that's funny and sometimes even bawdy.” —Bill Walsh, author of Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style

“From her founding of the hilariously named SPOGG (Society for the Protection of Good Grammar) to her diligently penned correction letters, Martha Brockenbrough delights grammar mavens while inducing giggles. She's a tidal wave of grammar fun.” —Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

“Grammar mavens should rejoice at the appearance of this collection of nifty facts about language. I read it straight through in one sitting!” —Grant Barrett, co-host of KPBS Radio's "A Way With Words" and author of The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English

“Do you ever feel badly or get nauseous? Things That Make Us [Sic] will cure you of those maladies and make you feel properly bad and nauseated about sloppy grammar, usage, and punctuation. It will also give you a generous dose of that best medicine: laughter. With winsome humor and humility, Martha Brockenbrough shows us how to choose language that is clear, precise, and unaffected. She also reminds us, inter alia, that 'irregardless is an irregular word, just as underwear is an irregular hat.'” —Charles Harrington Elster, author of Verbal Advantage and What in the Word?

“'Grammar' and 'glamour' have the same derivation: an old Scottish word meaning 'sorcery.' So, good grammar is not merely a glamorous antidote to creeping meatballism, it has the power of the black arts behind it. Martha Brockenbrough is hip to these secrets.” —Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Villa Incongnito, and Skinny Legs and All

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Martha Brockenbrough

Martha Brockenbrough is the founder of SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, as well as a writer for and the former editor-in-chief of She is the author of It Could Happen to You and lives in Seattle with her family.

Martha Brockenbrough

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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