A World Without Whom

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A book review of A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age by Emmy J. Favilla (Buzzfeed Copy Chief)

A book review of A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age by Emmy J. Favilla (Buzzfeed Copy Chief)

Stars: *****

Bloomsbury Publishing (2019)
400 pages

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: A World Without “Whom” is Eats, Shoots & Leaves for the internet age, and Emmy Favilla is the witty go-to style guru of webspeak. As language evolves faster than ever, what is the future of “correct” writing? When Favilla was tasked with creating a style guide for BuzzFeed, she opted for guidelines that would reflect not only the site’s lighthearted tone, but also how readers actually use language IRL.

With wry cleverness and an uncanny intuition for the possibilities of internet-age expression, Favilla makes a case for breaking the rules: A world without “whom,” she argues, leaves more room for writing that’s clear, timely, pleasurable, and politically aware. Featuring priceless emoji strings, sidebars, quizzes, and style debates among the most lovable word nerds in the digital media world–of which Favilla is queen-A World Without “Whom” is essential for readers and writers of news articles, blog posts, tweets, texts, emails, and whatever comes next . . . so basically everyone.

A World Without Whom

I love language and I love the internet so this was the perfect book for me. It’s all about writing on the internet. It’s specifically about grammar and usage.

You will find the following: Getting Things Right aka the Stuff that Matters, How to Not Be a Jerk aka Writing about Sensitive Topics, Getting Things as Right As You Can aka The Stuff That Kinda-Sorta Matters, How Social Media Has Changed the Game, “Real” Words and Language Trends to Embrace, How the Internet Has Changed Punctuation Forever, From Sea to Shining Sea aka Regional Stylistic Differences, At the Intersection of E-Laughing and E-Crying, Email and We’re All Going to Be Okay.

The best chapters were the ones about writing about sensitive topics, “real” words and the E-Laughing one.

The sensitive topics chapter is just plain helpful. You’ll find tips on how to deal with Abortion, Adoption, Immigration, Migrants/Refugees, Slavery, Suicide, LGBT (a big section), Race and ethnicity (also a big section), Disabilities/Diseases/Disorders, Rape/Sexual Assault and Bodies/Body Image.

The “Real” Words chapter deals with what makes a word real and how language changes over time. This section also includes a Copy Editor’s Calendar. It has the correct spelling and capitalization of holidays and special days like Super Bowl, Happy St. Paddy’s Day (NOT Patty’s), Olympics etc.

The E-Laughing one was just plain fun to read. I hadn’t really thought about it but the author points out how lol used to be LOL and actually stood for Laughing Out Loud. It still means that technically but we use it ALL THE TIME, even when we don’t laugh out loud.

The book is full of comics and tweets that fit the theme. I feel like this is an important book for anyone who writes for the web to read.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.