The history of Grammar Table is simple: on September 21, 2018, writer/teacher/language lover Ellen Jovin picked up a folding table in her Upper West Side apartment, carried it outside, and stuck a grammar sign on it. She was hoping that people would come by to ask grammar questions and chat about language, and that’s just what happened! It took maybe 30 seconds for the conversations to begin, and they have been continuing ever since.
Starting with the inaugural Grammar Table session, people have stopped by to ponder punctuation, share memories of sentence-diagramming, argue about apostrophes, debate word choice, discuss different writing systems, and much, much more. Anything language-related is fair game at Grammar Table, which pops up around town an average of three times a week.
Although inclined to grammar jokes, Ellen also takes this whole grammar thing very seriously! For example, she has a large collection of grammar books organized alphabetically by language, from Albanian to Zulu. She is also a principal and founder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training consultancy, and the creator of a language-learning website called Words & Worlds of New York. Ellen has a B.A. from Harvard in German studies and an M.A. in comparative literature from UCLA, and she has studied a couple dozen languages just for fun.
Weather uncertainty and work obligations make Grammar Table’s precise schedule difficult to predict, but possible hours at Verdi Square (its home base) include weekends late morning or early afternoon, and some weekdays between 3:00 and 6:30 p.m. Possible sites include inside the northern section of the 72nd Street subway station (the 1/2/3 stop), or just outside the exits. Grammar Table also sometimes travels to Grand Central, Times Square, Central Park, or anywhere grammatically curious pedestrian traffic can be found. If you would like to visit and need scheduling certainty, please write to Grammar Table and Grammar Table will write back!
Visitors have so far ranged in age from eighteen months to eighty years. All grammar talk is free.