Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grammarians, Celebrate National Grammar Day March 4!

I officially love Martha Brockenbrough.

The founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and author of Things That Make Us [sic] created National Grammar Day in 2008.  National Grammar Day is March 4.

Now, that's a holiday I can fully support.  You know this to be true, those of you who have lived through my discussions (that's what I'm calling them) regarding extraneous commas, Random capitalization, split infinitives and sentences ending in prepositions — not to mention noun-verb agreement, proper hyphenation and, for the love of all that's holy, the proper use of ordinal and cardinal numbers, especially in dates.

My love of grammar is so notorious that a friend recognized my handwriting on a sign in a women's restroom in my hometown.  "You scratched out that apostrophe, didn't you?" Vicky asked.  Yes, I did.  And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I am totally unapologetic about my adherence to grammar rules, and I will speak in a way that sounds archaic to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.  Call me crazy and old-fashioned, but if you can make at least three different meanings from the sentence "What is this thing called love" — well, then you understand why grammar is important.

Grammar rules are as important as driving regulations.  When one earns a driver's license, s/he agrees to follow certain rules (stop at a red light or stop sign, use a blinker to signal a turn, etc.).  Only by agreeing to follow the same rules can we even begin to guess what the other driver might do in a certain situation.

The same goes for grammar.  How in the world can you effectively communicate without agreeing to some ground rules?  Initial caps is a start, followed by the proper arrangement of words and correct punctuation. (Spelling counts, but that's a topic for another blog.)

Don't get me wrong: I make mistakes.  (We won't go into the whole apostrophe with an acronym controversy.)  However, I try to follow the rules so everyone knows what the driver is doing and can act accordingly.  Wait, that's the other one — but the end is similar. In the end, if you follow the rules, no one gets hurt.

So, visit the National Grammar Day Web site and enjoy the March Forth song — then march forth to spread proper grammar among your friends and family.  I'll be there with you.  It will be fun, I promise.  Okay, if it's not fun, at least it will be an adventure.  Are you in?

3 comments:

  1. LOL! I have to admit even though I've done a lot of writing and editing work over the years... I have a secret. I'm not good with rules! I took a technical writing course last fall and the instructor was a very strict grammarian. I take it all with a grain of salt. My grammar is very "intuitive." LOL Have fun on your crusade!

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  2. Thank you! Most people aren't good at remembering rules, but I know people can feel the difference when the grammar is not right. Even if they can't admit to dangling participles, their eyes twitch just a little when it happens.

    I always as writers to read aloud their materials. Inevitably, they stumble over awkward and incorrect writing.

    The way I figure: if we all can agree that that octagonal sign that reads "Stop" means we're supposed to halt our car, then we can agree how to apply commas. I know, pie in the sky dreaming....

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  3. Chris, I'm reading this book now and thought of you! http://www.amazon.com/Lexicographers-Dilemma-Evolution-English-Shakespeare/dp/0802717004

    It was written up in the Post a while ago. You might like it!

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