Is that lipstick on the book cover?
It’s here! The all-new, utterly updated, snazzy-jacketed second edition of Sin and Syntax. (Whew, how’s that for a lot of nouns and adjectives?) Today is the official pub date. I’m proud of this baby. For one thing, the book has now sold close to 100,000 copies. It’s been adopted in courses around the world. (I know this because 160 very cool teachers stay in touch with me via a mailing list.) What this means is that maybe, just maybe, a lot of folks out there are learning that English is something that can be bent and stretched and tested and thoroughly enjoyed. Grammar and syntax and usage and style don’t have to make us anxious. We own our sentences. We can all play in the language sandbox. I’m also proud because the book contains not just great Tweets and hilarious ads, but passages of great literature and timeless examples of subversive wit. And I’m proud of the students and research assistants and colleagues and family who contributed in ways both large and small to this book. I won’t call the thing crowd-sourced, but I will call it the result of many fruitful collaborations. Enough of the crowing! Here are some ways to taste the contents: Grammar Girl posted my thoughts on that weird pronoun often called the “royal we”—but actually more complicated even than the bloodlines at Buckingham Palace. The Huffington Post published "The Way to Wicked Prose," which contains a distillation of my top tips for writers. On a slightly geekier note, Lingua Franca posted a few grafs about two somewhat obscure literary devices: parataxis and hypotaxis. (I told you it was geeky.) If you are in Northern California, come get a jolt by joining a half-day workshop on Saturday, September 14. The title of the class is the same as that of the book—Sin and Syntax—but here’s a shorthand description: “forty bucks, four hours, free bagels, free books.” Come to the workshop! Read the book! Ask your bookseller for it! Start an argument with me about grammar! Send me your favorite snippets of subversive prose!