Last minute presents

Well actually, if you haven’t got your presents you may be too late. But if the exact date of delivery does not matter to you, let me follow up a suggestion I made around this time last year that you might like to consider giving your friend or loved one an eccentric book.

Here are three I would particularly recommend:

A Popular History of British Seaweeds (I love the adjective ‘popular’)
A Lust for Window Sills (come on, admit it)
How to Teach Physics to your Dog (well, I’m an academic and I have a dog: must be useful…)

Happy giving!

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15 Comments on “Last minute presents”

  1. cormac Says:

    sigh. Given earlier discussion on grammar shouldn’t that be last-minute presents? Or do you mean some final, tiny presents?


    • I used to tell my students that they could argue with me about anything they liked, but not about English grammar and spelling. Having acquired English later in my youth as a second language, I have all the rules!

      Cormac, you are talking here about compound words used as an adjective. In such cases you hyphenate them only if the meaning could be ambivalent. That is not the case here. On the other hand, in your second sentence there should be a comma after ‘grammar’, and the definite article should precede ‘earlier’.

      I am always glad to help.

  2. kevin denny Says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Sigh” not “sigh” and “Cormac” not “cormac”? :)

  3. Vincent Says:

    And I’m certain that the heroic actions of the Seaweed battles calls for ‘History’ also. I hear this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=artOXVZxECA&feature=related


  4. The economic analysis of Christmas presents is rather devastating: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/economics-of-christmas/

  5. James Says:

    Ah don’t try to teach your dog physics. He’ll just get confused by the spin of the ball.

  6. cormac Says:

    My head hurts!
    But my point is not one of grammatic pedantry but of clarity. I too, believe in freestyle (especially on blogs) and the phrase ‘last minute presents’, is to me, ambiguous.
    If ‘last minute’ is to be used as an adjective, it seems to me, the reader, that it is much clearer if it is written as last-minute, simply because the word ‘minute’ has multiple meanings.
    I notice that whenever on tries to make a point like this, writers always respond by dragging in every rule of grammar they can think of – but the issue is clarity, not grammar for the sake of it.

  7. Vincent Says:

    Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus. Gaudete.

    Happy Christmas Ferdinand. I wish you and all of yours a Happy and Holy day.
    May I extend these wishes to all here also.

  8. Al Says:

    Happy Xmas to all


  9. Happy Christmas to you, Ferdinand, and to all who comment here.

  10. cormac Says:

    Merry Christmas all!


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