One last question: Mary Norris, on the importance of words

One last question: Mary Norris, on the importance of words

The chicken is just the egg’s way of making another egg.

Mary Norris

'Well,' says Mary Norris – New Yorker copy editor and author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, 'it’s true that my life has been completely squandered on words. I’ve hardly ever done anything!'

As part of The Interrobang, Norris unpicks the complex relationship between words and actions. If actions give birth to words, and words may inspire actions, does it really come down to deciding between the figurative chicken or the egg?

Who?

Portrait of Mary Norris

Mary Norris

Mary Norris has spent more than three decades as a copy editor at The New Yorker, where she’s worked with such celebrated writers as Philip Roth, Pauline Kael and George Saunders. Norris’s love of language led her to write Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a manual for untangling the most vexing spelling, punctuation and usage quandaries in English.