Founding Grammars uncovers the origins of our grammar obsession, tracing current debates back to America's earliest days, an era when many families owned only two books — the Bible and a grammar primer. Everyone agreed that proper speech was important, but just what that meant was much more hotly contested. A 2016 Oregon Book Awards finalist.
"Founding Grammars is a fanfare for the common word, a welcome reminder that American English
is a language of the people, by the people, and for the people."
–Patricia T. O'Conner, author of Woe Is I and coauthor of Origins of the Specious
"Chronicles [the] word wars in wonderful, wonkish detail."
–Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, July 31, 2015
–John McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun, Nov. 10, 2015
"[Shows] that grammar-pusses have been with us for centuries now while English has kept on keeping on."
–John McWhorter, author of Power of Babel, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, and What Language Is