Book Fetish

Amazing Swag and Gifts for Real Grammar Nerds

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Leah Rachel von Essen

Senior Contributor

Leah Rachel von Essen reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

We’ve all heard ’em. Quirky jokes proliferating about not being able to stand people who don’t use grammar correctly, dismissing tweets for using double negatives, scoffing at people who don’t know who/whom. The grammar police. The grammar snobs. I certainly used to be one.

Here’s the thing, though: grammar and language are constantly shifting, changing. The Chicago Manual of Style and AP style, among others, announce new rules or shifted rules every few years to acknowledge the way our language is changing.

I’m an editor who’s passionate about the English language, and over the years, I’ve abandoned the old “grammar police” idea. My biggest support for this was The Subversive Copy Editor, the simply incredible book by Carol Fisher Saller, who was the editor behind the Chicago Manual of Style blog for many years. It emphasizes that there are so many ways to use grammar, and many of the rules can explicitly be abandoned if it means we respect others, or it sounds better in a sentence, or if it’s consistent. And it’s so true. Being flexible as an editor is absolutely vital.

Being a grammar snob is overrated. I am a grammar expert, but I refuse to be a grammar snob anymore. No one really needs to use perfect grammar on Twitter. It’s not actually worth cutting your friends and family off every five seconds to try and get them to speak perfect English (trust me, I’ve read the CMS front to back, and none of us speak a “perfect” English). 

These items are for all my fellow grammar lovers (but not snobs), all my grammar lovers who want to be proud grammar nerds, people obsessed with our miraculous shifting language, people who know the rules and how to use them, people who love words and all their strange particulars. These items are the ones for you.

Black, Oxford Comma Society t-shirt laid out on a blue background

Oxford Comma Society T-shirt: I have gotten so many compliments on this one! Channel your inner grammar nerd and proudly flaunt your belief in the Oxford comma. $23

Two pink and gold quotation mark pins, linked by a gold chain. They are resting on a white stand.

Quotation Collar Pin: Rock those cute, curvy quotation marks in style. $9

A mug that reads "Spell check yourself before you wreck yourself." The mug is white with a black handle.

Spell Check Mug: Every writer, editor, and scholar knows it’s true, but sometimes you need a reminder. Spell check yourself before you wreck yourself. $15

A pink shirt that says "Commas matter". The small black text box reads "more colors & more styles," and there is a bouquet of flowers at the bottom of the photo.

Commas Matter T-shirt: Declare your love of commas with this shirt, which comes as a sweatshirt, T-shirt, tank, and more, and in many colors as well. $15

A black pin that reads "word nerd" in white lettering.

Word Nerd Pin: Declare your word-nerdery proudly. $2.50

A black t-shirt that reads "Hyphenated. Non-hyphenated. The irony." in white lettering, all caps.

Hyphenated Irony T-shirt: English is such a strange language with such strange rules. The irony indeed! $20

A blue pin that shows two owls talking to each other. One says "who" and the other responds "whom."

Who/Whom Pin: Owls are the unofficial mascot of grammar nerds everywhere. You can also get it as a magnet! $2.50

A small embroidery of the abbreviation "Stet" in cursive. The embroidery hoop is resting against a plant pot and is beside a burning candle.

STET Embroidery: Writing “STET” in its giant letters in the comments of a Word document can be so satisfying. Bring that energy into your home with this embroidery. $18

The pin reads " , and". It is on a cardboard backing that reads "Cobalt Hill: Apostrophes, full stops, commas, hyphens, dashes, ellipses, and Oxford commas."

Oxford Comma Enamel Pin: I love the Oxford comma. The versatility, the clarity, and the consistency it brings to a text…this pin celebrates that “, and” we all love to see it. $11.50

Grey t-shirt that has teal writing "Grammar enthusiast."

Grammar Enthusiast T-shirt: Wear your enthusiasm for our incredible, strange language on your chest. $28

Black t-shirt with a big white 'schwa' sign on it (an upside-down and backwards e.) The text inside the schwa reads: "Be a Schwa. [Don't Stress]"

Be a Schwa T-shirt: “Be a schwa. (Don’t stress).” I live for a good grammar pun, and this one is both so good and so unexpected! $19