Grammar Tom Stern, In Memoriam (February 13, 1946-October 4, 2016) |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Tom Stern, In Memoriam (February 13, 1946-October 4, 2016)

I am deeply saddened to inform you that Tom Stern died last week. He had recently been diagnosed with late-stage cancer.

Our loyal readers will recognize Mr. Stern as the author of our weekly e-newsletter articles and as a co-author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. He began writing monthly articles for us in late 2012 following the death of’s founder and guiding light, Jane Straus. By early 2013 he was writing for us every week.

Mr. Stern did not shy away from controversy and enjoyed stirring the pot. He liked seeing readers’ reactions, which gave him ideas for follow-up e-newsletters. He was resolutely dedicated to three things: 1) making each and every weekly e-newsletter interesting and valuable to read, 2) ensuring that our responses to your comments posted on our blog were unassailable, and 3) establishing that the overall quality of the content on our website was equal to or better than any other grammar and punctuation website.

To ensure a smooth transition until we can bring a new writer on board who is able to maintain our standards, Mr. Stern provided us with a number of articles for our e-newsletters that will last for several months into the future. We also will rerun some of the most popular instructional articles authored by Jane Straus.

Tom Stern, we’ll miss you. In your memory, we repeat today “Confessions of a Guerilla Grammarian,” which originally appeared on June 29 of this year. In my opinion, this article received more positive letters and comments from readers than any other. We’ll return to our regular format next week.

Lester Kaufman on behalf of

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

47 responses to “Tom Stern, In Memoriam (February 13, 1946-October 4, 2016)”

  1. Jill B. says:

    I am so sad to hear of Tom’s passing. Indeed, he is the top of the heap in the Grammar world, next to Jane, of course. I will miss Tom’s wit and his keen attention to all things grammar. It will be so hard to find someone to fill Tom’s role at – like finding that needle in the haystack among, well, grammar hackers like me! If my grammar were half as meticulous as Tom’s… And his spicy writing made the column delightful.

    Heartfelt condolences to all of you at GrammarBook.

  2. Gina L. says:

    My condolences on the loss of Mr. Stern.

  3. Joyce W. says:

    Your tribute to Tom Stern was very touching. I have enjoyed his articles and will miss them — as I did Jane’s. And I still miss hers. I know that you and your staff are very sad, and I wish you success in finding a new writer.

    I always look forward to receiving the newsletter. It is a highlight for me. God bless you all is my prayer.

  4. Kristine S. says:

    I am so very sorry to hear about Mr. Stern’s passing. Thank you for sharing the information.

  5. Marlane L. says:

    I am sorry to hear of Tom Stern’s illness and passing. Count me as one of his fans. I looked forward every week to receiving the newsletter and chewing on Tom’s take of the state of grammar today. All my best to his family, friends, and associates at

  6. Kathy B. says:

    Rest in peace, Tom Stern. I hope you left this world with a Sharpie in your pocket.

  7. Lily-Ann M. says:

    I am saddened to hear the news of Tom’s passing. Although we had never met, I feel a
    connection to him through this newsletter, and therefore, this somehow registers as
    a personal loss.

    Please accept my condolences on the death of your friend and associate. I’m quite
    sure finding someone to continue his mission will be no easy task. However, I do look
    forward to the continued grammatical illumination their presence will ensure.

  8. Rachel G. says:

    My condolences to all of you. I, for one, am heartbroken with you.

  9. Janine S. says:

    RIP Tom Stern
    … so sorry to hear of his passing,… loved all his work and his
    quirky ways of putting us all straight… people call me the “Grammar Queen” –
    as I am always picking up/correcting newsletters, reports, and people’s text

    we will miss Tom …

    Thank you for sharing this news

  10. Janette S. says:

    Thank you for this. It is such a nice tribute. Love your newsletter!

    Tom Stern’s article about the signs is wonderful…thanks for sharing it.

  11. Anne M. says:

    I am so sad to read that, just like I was when I read about Jane Straus’s passing. I don’t know either of them but somehow through this e-letter I had gotten to know them both. The grammar world is a little more blue today.

  12. Rishi G. says:

    It’s sad to hear about Tom––my condolences to his family and friends! May his soul rest in peace. Grammar Book is an awesome resource, and Tom and Jane have left a truly rich legacy for us.

  13. Mary O. says:

    Wow, I’m so sorry to hear about Tom. My deepest sympathy to you for your loss.
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his writing and have learned so much from him. He leaves behind big shoes to fill.

  14. Michele R. says:

    My deepest condolences. He will be missed.

  15. Brigitte F. says:

    I loved that story! But, why did he let himself get caught and arrested? I would have done it in the middle of the night! RIP Grammar Boy!

  16. Karen T. says:

    My eyes are pooling and my heart is heavy as I read this news. I enjoyed many exchanges with Tom Stern, and he humbled me some and taught me much.

  17. Dennis T. says:

    So sorry to hear of Tom Stern’s passing. Thank you for letting us know and may you continue to thrive in the important work that you do.

  18. Diane W. says:

    I’m so sorry – losing Tom is obviously a great loss to many. He did a great job of picking up the pieces after Jane’s death and took this product to a new level. He will be missed.

    I wish you and your team the best going forward.

  19. Ruth M. says:

    Deepest condolences amidst wonderful memories of both Tom Stern and Jane Straus.
    All the best and many thanks.

  20. Kathleen D. says:

    And so another “grammar soul” wings its way to Heaven. The literate world is a better place for Tom’s efforts, and his legacy will live on — someone will rise up, just as he did for Jane.
    Thank you, God, for the gift of his life, and . . . God bless us all . . .

  21. CJ T. says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a magnificent teacher and a role model with a guerrilla Sharpie.

  22. Chaz W. says:

    Thank you for this memoriam.
    You have my sincerest condolences and prayers. By remembering him, he is with us more than before he left his mortal coil.
    Please continue the good work.

  23. Sandra F. says:

    Thank you for the information. I am saddened by the loss of such a contributor to I learn something new every time I read. I pass the information to my family and high school students as often as possible.

  24. Maria G. says:

    My deepest sympathies on the passing away of Mr. Tom Stern. We will miss him very much.
    A big hug from Chile.

  25. Sue B. says:

    RIP Tom Stern and condolences to your family and friends. I have so enjoyed your wit and wisdom.
    A well-wisher from the UK.

  26. Joanne M. says:

    What sad news. I often used what he wrote and very much enjoyed his columns.
    We’ll miss him.

  27. Sandra M. says:

    I am so very sorry. He was quite the fellow. My condolences to his family and friends. Mr. Stern will be missed.

  28. Sarah L. says:

    Please accept my condolences on the death of Mr. Stern. His articles were as entertaining as they were educational. The article you chose to print today is a perfect example of his knowledge and humor. He will be missed.

  29. Brian Y. says:

    My condolences to Tom’s family and all at

  30. Anthony D. says:

    Tom Stern and Jane Straus both gone in five years. This doesn’t parse well. has become their tribute and memoriam.

  31. Liz D. says:

    So sorry about the death of Mr. Stern. Loved his sensibility. Thank you for keeping the faith in good grammar. Lord knows the world needs it. With deepest sympathies.

  32. Reyna G. says:

    I am very sorry to hear of Tom Stern’s death. I also miss Jane Straus who died in 2011.

  33. Grace D. says:

    I have been a follower of Grammarbook since Jane Straus. I am saddened by the demise of the founder and now Mr. Tom Stern.
    Just want to let you know that I find all your articles very informative and useful. I wish the company more success and please continue
    to enrich our mind.

  34. Tom P. says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear about Mr. Stern’s passing. Here’s hoping he has a safe and gentle trip home.

  35. Yordanos T. says:

    I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear that Tom Stern died last week.

  36. Fred B. says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news and will miss Tom’s wonderful articles.

  37. Patricia S. says:

    It was really sad to hear of Mr Stern’s death. I always looked forward to the e-newsletters because I always learnt something new or found something to make me smile.
    I will miss his contributions. May he rest in peace.

  38. Ann M. says:

    I am so very sorry to hear the news of Tom’s death. I know it is a terrible loss for you, particularly coming just five years after losing Jane.

    I have been an avid GB fan for many years, and I delight in receiving your newsletter. I well remember Tom’s Guerilla Grammarian column, and I have followed his lead several times since reading it….although only when I thought I could not be nabbed. I have so enjoyed corresponding with both you and Tom on a number of occasions over the years, as we swap tales of outrageous “typos” and clueless grammatical mistakes that litter virtually every facet of our lives. (I sent you the story of my mother’s story about the gas station sign that read “No pays will be persecuted!”) Mind you, I am well aware that such egregious errors have likely been around since the early days of the written word, but they just seem SO prevalent now in every media format and all over the world wide web! I wonder if they occur in other languages, as well? Are there grammar boys and girls wielding sharpies in every country? In a way, I’d like to think there are, but on the other hand that means our cause is truly hopeless, since we are combatting a universal human flaw that is more powerful than we. ;-)

    Again, my deepest sympathy.

  39. Lauren K. says:

    I was very sorry to hear of the death of Tom Stern. As a speech-language pathologist, I have enjoyed receiving your newsletters, and still find I am learning some things.

  40. Charlotte M. says:

    Rest in peace, Tom Stern.
    I love the newsletter. I loved it when it was under the helm of Jane Strauss.
    Blessings to you both and all who must try to walk in your footsteps.
    Soldier on the Grammar Heaven.

  41. Norma P. says:

    I’m very sorry to hear Mr. Stern passed away.
    My brother is his age, so I’m especially regretting that
    Mr. Stern’s life was cut short. My heartfelt condolences
    to all.

  42. Mary June N. says:

    Hello there Great Team of Grammarbook,

    We are very saddened to hear the passing of Tom Stern. The grammar newsletter helped us, the editorial and writing team, a lot to improve our grammar. We cannot express enough our deep gratitude for the tips and examples he generously provided us for over 5 years now.

    We have no words to appease the hearts of the family he left behind, but rest assured that we will always remember him with fondness and gladness in our grammar and in our hearts as well.

  43. Marrie I. says:

    Am so sorry to learn of Tom’s demise, just after I’ve joined GrammarBook
    and thoroughly enjoying it. Though I never met either Jane or Tom in
    person, I must sincerely say their work excels; they’ll be missed by
    the Grammar fraternity, including me!

  44. Ravi B. says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I’m sure you’ll continue to enlighten millions of readers across the world no matter what happens.

  45. Bernadette says:

    Each week as I begin to read I am both saddened and relieved to hear Tomas Stern’s voice in the piece. I miss him terribly.

  46. Zeb Landon says:

    Thank you, Thomas Stern. Your contributions to better writing are appreciated. God bless you.

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