Language is always evolving. What is grammatically wrong today could be standard usage a hundred years from now. In this master class, participants will learn what a legendary copy editor thinks about grammatical issues large and small: What’s grammar for? Is incorrect usage ever okay? Can participles sometimes dangle? What do grammarians make of tweets and texts? Is the Oxford comma a good thing or just pretentious? When does one use “who” instead of “whom,” “that” instead of “which,” a colon instead of a dash? Should we trash the semicolon? Who gets to decide these things, anyway?
Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978 and was a query proofreader at the magazine for twenty-four years. She has written for the magazine on topics ranging from her cousin Dennis Kucinich to mud wrestling in Rockaway, but is best known for her pieces on pencils and punctuation. She’s the author of Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and, more recently, Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen.