Town Hall Seattle: Ellen Jovin—'Rebel With A Clause'

This is an in-person event presented by Town Hall Seattle. Purchase tickets at

Town Hall Seattle and Third Place Books are thrilled to present Ellen Jovin for a presentation of her book Rebel With A Clause.

Livestream option available. Purchase tickets here.

Event Description. . .

Do you have a strong opinion about things like the Oxford comma, splitting infinitives, or whether to use punctuation in a text message? Well, you’re not alone. When Ellen Jovin set up her first Grammar Table outside her Manhattan apartment building and invited people to ask her questions, it took only around thirty seconds for the first visitor to arrive. Dozens more followed with their own grammatical inquiries and Grammar Table became an instant hit. Word of its success spread — attracting the attention of outlets like the New York Times, NPR, and CBS National News.

Jovin decided to take it on the road, traveling across the United States to answer questions from people from all walks of life: writers, lawyers, editors, businesspeople, students, bickering couples, and anyone else who uses words. These experiences led to her latest work, Rebel With a Clause: Tales and Tips from a Roving Grammarian.

Jovin, a self-proclaimed “grammar nerd” is no stranger to writing, having penned three other books that help people with mastery of the English language and its nuances. Rebel, however, is not just another guide to polishing our prose or satisfying our age-old linguistic curiosities or longstanding phobia of semicolons. It is punctuated with linguistic debates from tiny towns to the nation’s largest cities, and a testament to the social power that grammar wields to both delight and divide us.

Even the most ardent of logophiles will learn something in this talk that is sure to entertain as well as enlighten.

Praise for Rebel With a Clause. . .

“Jovin uses a combination of intuition and established guidelines to demonstrate that there’s almost always more than one correct answer to questions of communication. Along the way, she shares funny anecdotes about the interactions at her booth and how it functioned as an outlet for individuals to passionately express their points of view…Fellow language lovers will enjoy the ride.”
Publishers Weekly

"A delightful, educative journey through some prickly regions of English grammar...Jovin positions herself, convincingly, as not just a linguistic, but an emotional counselor, fostering healthy communication rather than judgement...The invitation she poses in her introduction—'Now, please lie down on a nice couch with this book and let’s have some grammar therapy'—is well worth accepting."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ellen Jovin is, literally, a public grammarian, doling out advice on myriad fine points of language from behind a folding table she first set up in Manhattan's Verdi Park. In Rebel with a Clause, Jovin shares not only her story as an itinerant language maven but so much first-rate wisdom about everything from the effective wielding of commas to differentiating between 'effect' and 'affect' (to say nothing of 'who' and 'whom') that you may not realize till you finish the book that you've learned so much. And she does it with sweetness and an enviable generosity of spirit. She never hectors, never finger-points; she enlightens and illuminates. This is lovely work." 
Benjamin Dreyer, author of the New York Times bestseller Dreyer's English

"In Rebel with a Clause, Ellen Jovin has given us a street-level view of English grammar and usage, engaging with kids, drunks, cranks, and dads all over this land. From Verdi Square to Venice Beach, Fargo to New Orleans, she brings organization and clarity to every subject she lights on, presiding over the Grammar Table with tact, humility, and irrepressible playfulness. A fresh and democratic take on language by a gifted teacher."
Mary Norris, author of Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and Greek to Me

Ellen Jovin is a cofounder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training consultancy, and is the author of three other books on language. She is also the creator of a traveling pop-up grammar advice stand called the Grammar Table, whose adventures serve as the basis of this book. Ellen has a B.A. from Harvard College in German studies and an M.A. from UCLA in comparative literature, and has studied twenty-five languages for fun. She lives with her husband, Brandt Johnson, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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