Patricia T. O'Conner

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Patricia T. O’Conner

Patricia T. O’Conner (born February 19, 1949) is the author of five books about the English language.[1] A former editor at The New York Times Book Review, she appears monthly on WNYC as the "word maven" for The Leonard Lopate Show.[2] She has written extensively for The New York Times, including On Language columns, book reviews, and articles for the op-ed page and the Week in Review section.

She and Stewart Kellerman, her husband and co-author of several books and articles, answer questions about the English language on The Grammarphobia Blog.[3] She graduated from Grinnell College in 1971 with a BA in philosophy, and received an honorary degree from Grinnell in 2006.[4]


  • Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (Riverhead, 3rd ed., 2010, ISBN 978-1-57322-331-7)
  • Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language, co-authored by Kellerman (Random House, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8129-7810-0)
  • Woe Is I Jr.: The Younger Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (Putnam, 2007, ISBN 978-0-399-24331-8)
  • You Send Me: Getting It Right When You Write Online, co-authored by Kellerman (Harcourt, 2002, ISBN 978-0-15-602733-5)
  • Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing (Harcourt, 1999, ISBN 978-0-15-601087-0)


Articles include:

  • On Language: "All-Purpose Pronoun'", co-authored by Kellerman, New York Times, July 21, 2009.[5]
  • On Language: "Like", New York Times, July 15, 2007.[6]
  • On Language: "The Way We Live Now: 8-11-02: On Language," co-authored by Kellerman, New York Times, Aug. 11, 2002.[7]
  • On Language: "Grammar Cops", New York Times, Sept. 7, 1997.[8]
  • On Language: "Breaking the Rules", New York Times, July 28, 1996.[9]
  • On Language: "Spine Tinglers", New York Times, Aug. 27, 1995.[10]
  • Book Review: "Speech Crimes", New York Times, March 11, 2007.[11]
  • Book Review: "Mr. Darcy Is a Boorish Snob. Please Discuss", New York Times, May 2, 2004.[12]
  • Book Review: "Grisly Pictures From an Institution", New York Times, Dec. 7, 2003.[13]
  • Book Review: "Wigged Out?", New York Times, Dec. 8, 2002.[14]
  • Book Review: "Zo. Qi. Doh. Hoo. Qursh.", New York Times, Aug. 26, 2001.[15]
  • Book Review: "Party Girl", New York Times, Jan. 23, 2000.[16]
  • Op-Ed: "The I’s Have It", co-authored by Kellerman, New York Times, Feb. 23, 2009.[17]
  • Week in Review: "Ideas & Trends; It's Just Fine to Boldly Go", New York Times, Nov. 1, 1998.[18]