Grammar police: Your mugs are here.

We all have our pet peeves, and one of mine happens to be spelling and grammar. Even a text message with they’re/there/their used incorrectly is enough to make me cringe. (To say nothing of all the pitches we receive daily that assure us “mom’s will love this!”) That’s why this set of mugs would be perfect for starting every grammatically-correct day.

I love how the Grammar Grumbles mugs from The Literary Gift Company illustrate the proper use of two/to/too and clarify that no one will actually die if they don’t get what they’re yearning for. (It’s a figure of speech, hence “figuratively.” Get it?) Succinct, educational, and hilarious too, in the same vein as the Grammar Rules dishes we recently found.

Even if you don’t take grammar as seriously as I do, I still think these mugs are great reminders of the rules. They might even make you think twice about whether to use less or fewer when you’re writing that email to your boss.

How cool–a mug that delivers caffeine and might save you from an embarrassing grammatical blunder. I’m sold. -Julie

Get the set of six Grammar Grumbles mugs at The Literary Gift Company.

Julie

Julie Marsh is a mom of three, a project manager by trade, and a triathlete for fun. She could also use a nap.

29 Comments

  • Reply December 13, 2013

    Carissa

    I am the grammar police so, as you can imagine, these make me incredibly happy. Where can I get them? I want them all. :)

  • Reply December 14, 2013

    Joe

    I feel bad for those who speak badly. Maybe these will help.

    • Liz
      Reply December 15, 2013

      Liz

      Or do you feel badly?

      Ha.

      • Reply December 19, 2013

        Ange

        Only if her hand’s broken.

    • Reply December 21, 2013

      Barb

      I think we feel badly for those who speak poorly.

    • Reply December 27, 2013

      Carolyn Furlong

      Thank you. I cringe when I hear someone say “I feel badly”, however, I hear it so often (even from highly educated people) that I was beginning to wonder if I was wrong. Thanks for the reinforcement!

      • Julie
        Reply December 28, 2013

        Julie

        I also cringe when reading descriptions of recipes that proclaim “It tasted wonderfully!” I don’t want to think about my food tasting me back.

  • Reply December 15, 2013

    Tamara

    The to/two/too mug should have a comma before “too.”

    Take THAT Grammar Grumbles.

    • Reply December 16, 2013

      Shelli

      Tamara, I was just going to make the same comment! :-)

    • Reply December 23, 2013

      Beth

      Not so. That is actually not a rule but a common error that English teachers often advocate for some reason.

  • Reply December 16, 2013

    Evy Mayer

    This comment is from my friend, Peter:

    The following sentence has a grammatical error: “…from The Literary Gift Company illustrate the proper use of two/to/too and clarify that no one will actually die if they don’t get what they’re yearning for. (It’s a figure of speech, hence “figuratively.” Get it?)”

    Pronouns such as “no one”, “everyone”, “each person” etc. are in the third person singular so should be followed by “he (or he or she if one wants to be pc) doesn’t get what he/she is yearning for.”

    It really rankles me and makes me cringe to see bad grammar used by grammatical pedants. :) (Just in case the joke is lost.)

    Eds: Thanks Evy! You and your friend Peter are smart cookies. Traditional grammarians indeed cringe at the use of the “singular they,” which came of favor in the 70’s when the formerly generic “he” became less appropriate for representing both male and female individuals. The singular they has now become acceptable conversationally by most sources, and in writing form by some sources (including Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, and the New International Version Bible) yet not by many others. But eh, what can we say. We write conversationally here, use lots of fragments, and start plenty of sentences with “and,” while ending many in prepositions. Sometimes both at the same time! Creative license. [< - Sentence fragment]

    Also, our resident grammatical pedant would like Peter to know that commas belong inside of his quotation marks unless he's British. :)

  • Reply December 17, 2013

    Sarah

    There is no apostrophe for plurals – moms not mom’s

    Exactly! -Eds

  • Reply December 18, 2013

    Bruce Brenneman

    It should be “The Literary Gift Company illustrates…”

    Eds: In this sentence, it is the mugs (plural) that illustrate the proper use of grammar–the mugs (from The Literary Gift Company) are the subject and so the subject/verb agreement is accurate. But thanks for reading our copy so closely, Bruce! We appreciate the attention.

  • Reply December 19, 2013

    Don

    None of these six concerns an issue in grammar. Four concern spelling (homophone confusion) errors, and two concern usage, one of which (“figuratively/literally”) isn’t an error at all. To say “I’m literally dying for a cuppa” is to use “literally” in its hyperbolic sense, which is fine; it has been established in the language since before the American revolution.

    • Reply December 21, 2013

      Justin Bannah

      Since when did “literally” have a hyperbolic sense? Isn’t that like saying, “I meant ‘literally’ figuratively”?

      • Reply December 23, 2013

        Don

        No. “Literally” is been for exaggerated emphasis since at least the 1760s. See this good, comprehensive discussion by Stan Carey:

        http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/literally-centuries-of-non-literal-literally/

        Here’s another sensible piece on this one from the Macmillan Dictionary blog, by Michael Rundell:

http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/this-will-literally-have-you-in-stitches

        And another one, in Slate, by dictionary editor Jesse Sheidlower, wherein he writes:

        Why, though, did this usage of literally suddenly come under such fire? It is not the first, nor will it be the last, instance of a word that is used in a seemingly contradictory way. There are many such words, and they arise through various means. Called “Janus words,” “contranyms,” or “auto-antonyms,” they include cleave (“to stick to” and “to split apart”), dust (“to remove dust from” and “to sprinkle dust upon”), moot (“able to be discussed; arguable” and “purely theoretical”) and peruse and scan (each meaning both “to read closely” and “to glance at hastily; skim”). Usage writers often criticize such words as potentially confusing and usually single out one of the meanings as “wrong,” the “right” meaning being the older one, or the one closer to the word’s etymological meaning, or the one more frequent when 18th-century grammarians began to examine language systematically. It’s not always possible to predict when something will be condemned: While the “skim” sense of peruse is often criticized, the “skim” sense of scan—the main current sense—is rarely noticed, even though it’s a recent development, quite different from the meaning the word had for centuries.

        In the case of literally, the “right” meaning is said to be “exactly as described; in a literal way,” because that’s what the base word literal is supposed to mean. In fact, the literal meaning of literal would be something like “according to the letter,” but it’s almost never used this way. “He copied the manuscript literally” would be one possible example. So when we use literally to refer to something other than individual letters—to whole words, or to thoughts in general—we are already walking down the figurative path, and if we end up with people eating curry so hot that their mouths are “literally on fire,” how surprised can we be?

        • Reply December 23, 2013

          Don

          *That is: “Literally” has been used for exaggerated emphasis since at least the 1760s.

  • Reply December 20, 2013

    Lisa

    I love this and may send a few to some of my Facebook friends. They are the worst offenders… Sometimes it is too painful to read their status updates because they are so full of grammatical errors. Your/you’re, It’s/Its, their/there…

    • Reply December 21, 2013

      Don

      “Sometimes it is too painful to read their status updates because they are so full of grammatical errors. Your/you’re, It’s/Its, their/there…” For those of us who care about the niceties of expression, it’s important to note that these are not “grammatical errors.” Instead, they are errors in spelling, and they’re common, even among those who are capable spellers. When someone chooses the wrong symbols to form the word he intends to write, the mistake is in spelling, pure and simple.

      And the use of “literally” in its hyperbolic sense has been established in the language since before the American revolution.

      • Reply December 21, 2013

        Jen

        I’d have to disagree, Don. It’s one thing to make a typo and confuse it’s and its. But when someone has no idea when their “they’re” should be “there,” it’s a grammar issue.

        Also, I love all of you who noticed the missing comma in to/two/too. #grammarpoliceunite

        • Reply December 23, 2013

          Don

          No, Jen. When someone (intuitively) understands the grammar and knows what he intends a word to mean in context but then misspells that word, the mistake is in orthography, not in grammar. Spelling errors sometimes impinge on grammar, as they can in this case, but, fundamentally, they remain spelling errors, no question.

          Don, we love your passion for this subject. But it’s unfair to say “no question” because clearly there is a question, and not everyone is in agreement with you. Grammar is often defined as the entire system and structure of language. Grammar blogs, grammar books, grammar glossaries contain sections on homonyms and homophones. Which is all beside the point, considering Grammar Grumbles is just a clever name for a series of mugs that address parts of speech. We’re thrilled this small business is getting so much attention and, we hope, lots of orders.

          In any case, let’s get back to having a happy holiday season and arguing over something super important like football. Peace everyone.

          • December 25, 2013

            Don

            Thanks. I say “no question” not because I think the subject isn’t open to argument (or to disagreement) but rather because it’s a rhetorical means of asserting that, despite disagreement, among grammarians the question is settled. And it is. Strictly speaking, spelling really isn’t part of grammar. Spelling precedes grammar. Grammar concerns itself with the conventions that govern the structure of language–syntax and sentence formation. When you’re looking at words in isolation, as you are when you consider spelling (and usage), grammar seldom comes into play.

    • Reply December 23, 2013

      Beth

      Only do that if you want to be a pain in the neck and lose your friends. I don’t understand why people like to use their education to try to pick at other people. And that is coming from an editor. Yes, there are all sorts of errors on facebook. However, many of the so-called errors you wish to point out are not in fact considered errors if you take into account the informal register; for instance, it is completely acceptable to use “less” in place of “fewer” in a facebook status. Even in the case that it is in fact an error, it is not appropriate to use your knowledge to try to bring someone else down. Notice it, laugh to yourself if it is funny, and move on.

      I find the need to poke at other people’s language is usually a result of insecurities regarding one’s own understanding of language, which on occasion actually results in embarrassingly incorrect corrections. Consider that before you pick at someone. Also, you should learn the definition of “grammar” before you try to correct it for someone.

  • Reply December 21, 2013

    Kel

    I love these! I’m a grammar geek myself! I wish there was one that said, “Happy holidays or Merry Christmas from The Smiths instead of The Smith’s! lol Almost everybody makes this mistake! :)

  • Reply December 21, 2013

    Barb

    My theory is that people don’t learn proper spelling, grammar and punctuation because they don’t much use their hands to write it out when they’re learning it all. When your hands do it, your brain learns the correct processes of constructing a sentence and all the elements therein. When you’re typing, all your brain is absorbing is that you’re pushing buttons, and one button is the same as another to your brain, so it has no mechanical foundation to help your eyes differentiate the right way from all the wrong ways.

    What I really wish someone would do is school the people at Jeopardy on that thing about keeping punctuation inside quotation marks; and also, those quotation marks they’re using are actually feet and inches marks rather than proper apostrophes and QMs. It drives me crazy that a show quizzing people on higher knowledge would miss such rudimentary details!

  • Reply December 22, 2013

    Elizabeth

    Grammatically-correct day…
    http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/HyphensEnDashesEmDashes/faq0010.html

    “So it is a matter not of who is right or wrong but of whose rule you are going to follow.” That can sum up so much of English grammar, can’t it? -Eds

  • Reply December 22, 2013

    Elizabeth

    Well, it’s not just the Chicago Manual that lists that rule–it’s pretty much universal.

  • Reply December 23, 2013

    Jan

    These are awesome, but come from UK ($$$$ shipping). Any chance someone sells them in the US?

    —–

    We found similar ones on Zazzle, Jan, which are featured in our Holiday Gift Guide if you scroll down to gifts for grammar geeks. Ship from the US. -Eds.

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