A belated celebration of National Grammar Day
Last updated 3/9/2022 at 1:41pm | View PDF
I must confess.
I missed National Grammar Day last Friday, what with family in town and it being opening night of "Hinsdale Unmasked."
You, too, might have missed the celebration. The holiday is rather new, after all, having been established less than 15 years ago in 2008.
Martha Brockenbrough, an author, teacher and founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, said she founded the day to help students with grammar in a "lively and positive way." (I'm fairly certain this is the first time the word "lively" has ever been used in connection with grammar.)
I learned this from a grammarly.com blog that also suggests ways to celebrate. I thought I'd start with the online quiz to test my grammar. I clicked on the link and received error No. 404: Page Not Found.
Fortunately another link to Weird Al Yankovic's "Word Crimes" video worked. His parody of the Robin Thicke's 2013 single "Blurred Lines," complete with animated punctuation marks, has some highly amusing lines. He covers everything from "I could care less" (which means you do care, at least a little) to word choice to punctuation.
"But I don't want your drama, if you really wanna, leave out that Oxford comma," he sings.
And he comes up with his trademark rhymes, as in " you should hire some cunning linguist to help you distinguish what is proper English."
He is not kind to those who struggle in this area, as evidenced by these lyrics: "You finished second grade. I hope you can tell if you're doing good or doing well."
Another link takes you to a page with 24 - yes 24 - grammar-inspired haikus, my favorite of which reads:
"i" before "e" and
STOP HYPHENATING ADVERBS
Forgive my outburst.
Click on another link and you can read the SPOGG blog. My favorite entry was a cartoon of a blindfolded man playing Pin the Apostrophe on the Word "its."
The caption: "The games get pretty crazy at English teachers' parties."
I enjoyed looking at embarrassing grammar mistakes, including a street sign that read "Twelveth St." and a menu board listing "harsh brown potato" as a breakfast item. Having made my own fair share of typos, though, I didn't dwell on these images too long.
I found the most entertaining examples of good - and bad - grammar on Facebook and by doing a simple Google search.
A Facebook friend recently posted a picture of this sandwich-board sign.
"I before E," it reads. "Except when your foreign neighbor, Keith, received eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters.
A search for funny grammar mistakes yielded these gems.
"Tables are for eating customers only. No loitering."
"Wash and vacuum senior citizens $15.95"
"We're going to learn to cut and paste kids."
Of course, if you're interested in a deeper dive into grammar, I would recommend a copy of Lynne Truss' "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation," in which you will learn why a panda might have walked into a café, eaten a sandwich, fired two shots in the air and left.
Or you could mix yourself up a Grammartini, using this recipe from Brockenbrough:
2 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 green olive
Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Stir for 30 seconds, strain into a martini glass and drink. Preferably while watching Weird Al's "Word Crimes" video on You Tube.
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].