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Between You & Me

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Mary Norris

The most irreverent and enjoyable book on language since Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Mary Norris has spent more than three decades guarding the New Yorker’s grand traditions of grammar and usage. Now she brings her vast experience and sharpened pencil to help the rest of us, in a charming language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.

Between You & Me features Norris’s hilarious exhortations about exclamation marks and emoticons, splice commas and swear words; her memorable exchanges with writers such as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders; and her loving meditations on the most important tools of the trade. Readers—and writers—will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise new friend in love with language.

Sharpen your writing skills, with this series of video lessons by Mary Norris for the New Yorker.


ABC Local Radio, Conversations with Richard Fidler
New York Times  
ABC RN Books & Arts 
Adelaide Review
ABC RN Late Night Live
ABC Bookish, with Jennifer Byrne

Click here to watch Mary Norris talking about her life and work for the New Yorker.

Mary Norris
About the Author

Mary Norris is the author of Greek to Me and the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, an account of her years in the New Yorker copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with the Palomino Blackwing.

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18 November 2015
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Praise for Mary Norris
andBetween You & Me

‘A delightful mix of autobiographer, New Yorker lore, and good language sense.’

‘[The] verbal diagnostician I would turn to for a first, second, or third opinion on just about anything.' 

‘Countless laugh-out-loud passages…A funny book for any serious reader.’

‘Mary Norris is a grammar geek with a streak of mischief, and her book is obscenely fun.' 

Between You & Me is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it.’

‘Marvelous…Mary Norris is no dry guardian of grammar, no punitive Poobah of punctuation. In giving an account of her journey from provincial obscurity to the glamour of New York—and the New Yorker—she offers a warm, tender, and funny coming of age story. (Or possibly it’s a ‘coming-of-age’ story. Mary could tell you!)' 

‘Mary Norris’s Between You & Me is so smart and funny and soulful and effortlessly illuminating. Well, she herself is so generous and great—what else would she do?' 

‘Mary Norris brings a tough-minded, clear-eyed, fine-tuned wisdom to all the perplexities and traps and terrors of the English sentence.’

‘Very funny, lucid, and lively…[Norris’] love of language transcends all, reconnecting the alienated pieces of this world—from the micromachinery of the serial comma up to the cosmic mystery of story.‘

‘I enjoyed Mary Norris’s book so much. It’s exactly my idea of a good read.’

‘This book charmed my socks off…Norris is a master storyteller.’

‘Informative, witty and very funny: a must for anyone who cares about what they write.’

‘If you loved Eats Shoots and Leaves you will ADORE this marvellously intelligent and witty disquisition on the finer points of punctuation and grammar.’

‘This enchanting little tome is a journey through her world of punctuation and grammar, with some very cool anecdotes…If you like words, language or puzzles, this is the book for you – or that friend or mother who always corrects you.’

‘Norris is warm, knowledgable and unapologetically fussy…The pleasure of Between You & Me boils down to a willingness to spend 200 tightly edited pages in Mary Norris’s good-natured, wise company.’

‘Her book doesn’t subordinate the trivial and emphasize the significant, and the result is a verbal flea market with unexpected treasures…Between You & Me really is a reference book to read for pleasure.’

’So warm and un-fusty that the pages just slip by. Yet it manages in its final few to sneak in thoughtful discussions of, among other disputes, swearing, commas, colons and semi-colons.’

‘Enlightening, useful, and often outright hilarious…From exclamation marks to emoticons, swear words to split infinitives, Mary Norris is the bomb.’

‘A complete delight for any word nerd…Insightful and erudite, this book is a love letter to copy editors and lovers of language.’

Other editions ofBetween You & Me
  • Between You & Me
    ISBN: 9781925095807
    22 April 2015
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byMary Norris