Nerd herd, unite! If your idea of a riveting good debate is on the subject of the Oxford comma, then you’ll love diving into these books that unpack grammar and language in creative ways. Best of all, you can apply what you learn to everyday writing, reading, and speaking.
By Lynne Truss
This New York Times #1 bestseller is probably the best-known and most accessible grammar book out there. Truss takes real-life and imagined examples of lackadaisical grammar and demonstrates the sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-horrifying outcomes of these grammar snafus. From overzealous and “unnecessary” quotation marks to when exactly you should use a semicolon versus a colon, the book manages to make grammar both fun and relevant.
By Patricia T. O’Conner
You just know a grammar book written by the former editor of The New York Times Book Review is going to be worth its salt. Now in its fourth edition, this modern grammar tome takes sharp aim at classic grammar rules and considers how language is actually used, effectively cancelling dated standards like use of the word "whom". Best of all, she answers grammar questions you didn’t even know were questions, ensuring your writing is always up to date and perfectly polished.
By Roy Peter Clark
Another author with impressive credentials, Clark is a writing teacher with 40+ years under his belt teaching at The Poynter Institute, a school for journalism and democracy. With a lifelong mission to make better writers, this book contains dozens of short chapters filled with loads of examples to help you untangle common grammar quandaries and be left with no questions, especially thanks to easy-to-reference summaries at the end of each section.
By Bill Bryson
Grammar is but one subsect of language studies. There’s spelling, etymology, sentence structure, pronunciation and more – all of which are tackled in this riveting, expansive history of English’s unlikely origins and evolution over the centuries. If you want a comprehensive understanding of where grammar fits in English and all its complexities, this is a great place to build a foundation.
By Lynne Truss
Yes, Truss makes the list twice. She took her best-selling adult grammar read and adopted it into a series of kid-friendly titles, including one with the same title as that book, showing good grammar is for any age. Packed with fun illustrations that demonstrate hilarious grammar mishaps (ex: The giant kids’ playground vs. the giant kid’s playground), each book – there’s a third one on punctuation – is an easy-to-digest way to introduce grammar to the next generation of ship-shape writers.