17 Gifts for Grammar Geeks

7 years ago

You probably have someone on your list who will probably never lay (and definitely never lie) down her red pen. Punctuate her holidays with an editor-approved grammar gift guide; you can choose for yourself whether to sign it "Santa Clause."

Home Décor That Makes a (Declarative) Statement

Serve up some syntax with a set of adorably informative handmade grammar plates ($10 each; $50 for a set of 6 dessert-sized plates).

I long to buy two parentheses from this collection of punctuation mark lamps by Tabisso (inquire for price) and place anything that strikes me as inessential between them.

That this Grammar Monster magnet by Fishcakes ($4.50) is correctly punctuated pleases me.

Crafts for the prescriptive grammarian: a Grammar Police cross-stitch pattern from Etsy seller ucladoc ($2).

Cubicle Tutorials

"Remember, if you put an 'a' in the word 'definately,' then you are definitely an A-hole." Pick up five lessons from The Oatmeal in all their raunchy, helpful glory with The Oatmeal Grammar Pack ($40).

Oxonians and fans of the Chicago Manual won't need but will appreciate the (possibly NSFW) Oxford Comma poster by aeferg on Etsy ($10).

It is to be hoped that the arresting Respect Punctuation posters from Tiny Owl Studios will prompt reflection upon punctuation.

Less didactic but even more graphic is the comma print by Paper Gangster ($25).

Amusing Books on Grammar and Punctuation

Karen Elizabeth Gordon first published The Transitive Vampire ($16) in 1984, when I was young and easily seduced by gothy clip art and juicy sentences like "Dawn kissed the horizon with its fresh, hot lips." Gordon adds narrative to her lessons by placing whimsical characters (Jonquil and Torquil!) into examples of dangling participles and other horrors of the English language.

The "bureau chiefs" who perpetrate the Twitter misadventure known as @FakeAPStylebook have compiled their satire of the Associated Press' from-on-high pronouncements on acceptable usage into Write More Good: An Absolutely Phony Guide ($10), which contains such gems as "The passive voice should be avoided by you."

Last year, BlogHer Publishing Network member Bethany Keeley bookified her "excellent" blog documenting punctuation gone awry on signs across the globe; The Book of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks ($17) includes my favorite depressing senior class graduation theme, "The Best" Is Yet to Come!

Noah Lukeman's A Dash of Style: Mastery of the Art of Punctuation ($11) is not only an insightful grammar text, but also a tool for any writer's kit: "Often it's hard for writers to take a step back and gain true objectivity on their own work. Punctuation, though, never lies. Whether you like it or not, punctuation reveals the writer. Analyzing your punctuation forces you to take a step back, to gain a bird's-eye view of your own writing."

Grammatically Correct Attire

I assume your "friend" won't "misuse" this gift of air quote mittens by Kate Spade ($65) in the interest of "sarcasm."

Repurposed from a vintage Smith-Corona typewriter by Chaosbarbie, punctuation cufflinks ($20) would add a dash of panache to a black-tie ensemble, n'est-ce pas?.

I want to give this paragraph symbol necklace ($16) by Rosalind of Arden to every copy editor I know.

Family Grammar

It's a copy editing board game that takes place at a newspaper. I would have really enjoyed Go To Press! had I discovered it 30 years ago. Now, it's a touch heartbreakingly quaint (there's a copy room!). Heather Sanders posted a great review of the game over at Pioneer Woman, by the way.

Interjection! For excitement! And emotion! It's generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma if the feeling's not as strong. If your family doesn't already know Schoolhouse Rock, the charming '70s series of catchy grammar ditties, by heart, you need to grab them the DVD set ($15) posthaste. My favorite's Conjunction Junction, because he will get you there, if you're very careful. What's yours?

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