ACES Evolve 2023

The Complaint Box at the Grammar Table | Ellen Jovin

Ellen Jovin collects complaints about grammar and word choice—from reader correspondence, from visitors to her grammar advice stand, from social media followers, and more. These complaints concern sentences that have gone astray as well as sentences that people merely think have gone astray. In her talk, Ellen will share some of the more thought-provoking objections and the accompanying maligned sentences. Did those examples deserve the criticism or are they being unfairly picked on? The talk will evaluate sometimes competing considerations of audience reception, editorial convention, language change, and writerly art and individuality.

Intermediate Level, All editors, Students, Freelance editors, Book editors, News editors, Corporate editors, Technical editors, Advanced Skills


Ellen Jovin is a cofounder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training consultancy, and the founder of the Grammar Table, a traveling pop-up grammar advice stand she has set up in all 50 US states. Her book Rebel with a Clause: Tales & Tips from a Roving Grammarian was a Publishers Weekly bestseller last summer. Ellen likes grammar so much she has studied 25+ languages for fun. She has a BA in German from Harvard College and an MA in comparative literature from UCLA.

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