Typically when sending a text, Tweet or Facebook post, correct grammar takes the backseat to witty punctuation or uber-abbreviation. We may be devolving into “chatspeak,” but as the foundation of any language, grammar remains an essential tool even in the digital age.
Bringing life to such a humdrum subject is no simple task. Enter Chris Baker and Jacob Hansen’s new book The Elements of F*cking Style. Fresh off of the Thomas Dunne Books and St. Martin’s Press, the “helpful parody” addresses everything from common questions like “What the hell is a pronoun?” to conundrums like “Does not using paragraphs or periods make my thesis read like it was written by a mental patient?”
Baker is offering a copy of the book to the first five CH readers who Tweet at him (@funkmastabaker) with their favorite grammar f*ck up by a friend or public figure. To see what makes it such an enticing offer, check out our brief interview with the grammar-savvy author below.
You typically run a website, is this your first printed publication?
“Elements” is our first foray into the printed world, but the genesis of the idea began with the website “The Fucking Word of the Day,” which was based off the insight that learning can be made fun if you swap out boring, stale examples for those that use sex, drugs and swearing.
Why produce a physical book?
Despite its austere reputation, we’ve always considered grammar to be among the most sensual of all academic subjects. As a result, we wanted to present our material by way of a physical medium. The iPad and Kindle are great, and we won’t bemoan any customers who choose to download the book instead of springing for the hard copy. Having said that, our goal really was to create a book that could be shoved into a back pocket on the way out of the house, and then put back onto the bookshelf in the evening. Plus, it’s great for swatting flies, which can be of great benefit in a dorm room or office cubicle.
So what can we look forward to next?
Next, there will be a book more closely related to vocabulary. I’m also working on a book on cinema, and a number of other web related projects.