Ellen Jovin started Grammar Table on more or less of a whim on September 21st, 2018, in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The idea was simple: sit in a public space with a sign that encourages passersby to ask her questions related to grammar and language. To her surprise, the questions came flooding in.
Image via the buffalo news
Jovin is well qualified for the role. She is a founder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training consultancy, and the creator of a language-learning website called Words & Worlds of New York. She also has a B.A. from Harvard in German studies and an M.A. in comparative literature from UCLA.
“I bring to this undertaking a sense of grammar humility,” Jovin told The Buffalo News. “Too many people think they know everything and they freely dispense bad advice in a condescending way.”
Jovin wants to reclaim the trope of the stuffy, overcritical grammarian. Proper grammar isn’t always as ironclad as it may seem. There are legitimate conversations to be had about the use of an em dash in contrast to a semicolon, the use of the pronoun ‘whom,’ or the integrity of an Oxford comma. Language changes from generation to generation, and we need grammarians like Ellen Jovin to guide us down a path that will allow us to communicate our ideas effectively and beautifully.
Image via NYTimes
Jovin has recently embarked on a Grammar Table tour across the US, and we can also expect a documentary and book coming from her in the future!
Featured Image Via: Grammar Table