On September 21, 2018, Ellen Jovin set up a folding table on a Manhattan sidewalk with a sign that said “Grammar Table.” Within seconds, passersby began excitedly asking questions, telling stories, and filing complaints.
Grammar Table was born. What followed is the stuff of grammar legend.
Ellen and her husband, Brandt Johnson, decided to take the table on the road. They visited 47 states before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and Brandt filmed the action. Alaska, Hawaii, and Connecticut (yes, that faraway land) await the arrival of the table.
Ellen talks about grammar with writers, editors, construction workers, salespeople, teachers, students, small children, doctors, dancers, seniors, and anyone else who uses words in this world. She creates community. Fan-favorite topics include the Oxford comma, spaces after periods, semicolons, “which” versus “that,” and whether you can end a sentence with a preposition (hint: you can!).
But this story transcends grammar. It's the story of an epic quest, in a time of deep social division, to connect with America and bring us all closer together. Over grammar? Yeah. Say goodbye to your preconceptions. Say hello to Grammar Table.
Ellen's book about the adventures of Grammar Table, titled Rebel with a Clause: Tales and Tips from a Roving Grammarian, was published by Mariner Books (HarperCollins) in July 2022.
Brandt's documentary film about Grammar Table is in post-production.
Creator, Grammar Table
Ellen is an internationally acclaimed grammar and language expert. Her book Rebel with a Clause, about the adventures of Grammar Table, was published in July 2022 by HarperCollins. She has written three other books on writing and grammar: English At Work: Find and Fix Your Mistakes in Business English; Essential Grammar for Business: The Foundation of Good Writing; and Writing for Business: Professionalism, Integrity & Power, all published by Hachette in 2019.
Ellen has achieved fluency in six languages and has studied more than 25 in nine different writing systems. She was the lead organizer of the 2015 Polyglot Conference in New York City and has a large international social media following. She is a co-founder (with her husband, Brandt Johnson) of Syntaxis, a communication skills training and consulting firm whose clients include many multinational corporations. Earlier in her career, Ellen taught English as an adjunct lecturer at New York University and other colleges, and then spent several years as a full-time freelance writer.
Ellen has a B.A. in German studies from Harvard University and an M.A. in comparative literature from UCLA.
Director of the upcoming Grammar Table film
Brandt is a co-founder (with Ellen) of Syntaxis, a New York-based communication skills training and consulting firm. A former investment banker and speechwriter, he has trained executives of major corporations around the world. Brandt is the author of the book Practical Presentation Skills: Authenticity, Focus & Strength (Hachette, 2019) and has written and performed in three plays (the New York Times praised his “sharp writing”). He has also acted Off-Broadway and in national network commercials.
Before Grammar Table, Brandt was the writer, director, and star of Brad Advice, a comedy web series. The New York Daily News raved, “Brad Advice is a new web series worth getting tangled in... the writing is sharp and funny... Brad Advice knocks it out of the park.”
A lifelong athlete, Brandt played professional basketball in Europe and on tour against the Harlem Globetrotters.
He graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in mathematics and earned an M.B.A. in finance from the NYU Stern School of Business.