A national grammar day tale of love

Linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer was one of the judges for this year's Grammar Day Haiku Contest (stay tuned for the results, which will be announced later today by Mark Allen. Update: The winning haiku is here!).

Zimmer told me he hopes Grammar Day can be about more just curmudgeonly nitpicking.

“I have to admit that much of the public talk about grammar fills me with sorrow rather than joy, because so often the conversation is dominated by those clinging to outmoded or flat-out bogus rules, and expressing outrage at anyone who doesn't obey those rules,” he says.

“Cranky indignation becomes the dominant tone about grammatical issues when the 'peevologists' hold sway.” (He points out, too, that certain peeves over spelling, punctuation, and word choice aren't about grammar at all. While such linguistic peeves certainly fall into the trade of a good copy editor, they're not technically grammatical. Whoops.)

Zimmer says, “Let's use National Grammar Day as an opportunity to think about what grammar actually is, and to be open to differing opinions about grammatical propriety.

If grammar evokes anxiety or crankiness, relax for a day! Don't get hung up on the rise of singular 'they' or the decline of 'whom.

' Don't fret about the correct placement of 'only,' or whether 'none' needs to take a singular verb. Instead, embrace the living, breathing grammar of English in all of its varieties.”

Merriam-Webster lexicographer Kory Stamper is in agreement with Zimmer, and has posted a plea for sanity asking people not to turn the day into a free-for-all of railing on bad grammar, running around mocking others for their mistakes.

She writes, “You may think you are some great Batman of Apostrophes, flitting through the dark aisles of the Piggly-Wiggly, bringing Truth and Justice to tormented signs everywhere! But in reality, you are a jerk who has defaced a sign that some poor kid, or some poor non-native English speaker, or some educated and beleaguered mom who is working her second job of the day, spent time making… Vigilante peeving does nothing to actually educate people.”

But it's fun! It's … fun? It's fun enough that we spend much of the rest of our year discussing our so-called grammar peeves, loudly and emphatically.

Perhaps following Stamper's suggestion could be more fun, if only for its uniqueness and karmic goodness: “Instead of calling people out on March 4th for all the usages they get wrong, how about pointing out all the thing things that people–against all odds–get right?” Commending people for what they do well instead of making fun of what they do poorly? Huh. That could be nice. 

Making National Grammar Day Fun (Yes, Really!)

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ACES 2014 National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest entries

@MiltownBucky One tiny mistake,Published where no one will see?Wrong! Thousands of comments.#grammarday #seewhatIdidthere

— Mandi Lindner (@MandiMLindner)

March 3, 2014

Oxford’s weather showsThe loveliness of damp prose:Comma-splattered lines.#grammarday

— Tina Ray (@raytinamu)

March 3, 2014

Awl of my tweets ourFilled with grammatical airLet’s keep it that weigh#grammarday #haiku

— William (@MiltownBucky)

March 3, 2014

I can’t punctuate.
My mind’s filled with tales.

An editor saves.

  • #grammarday #haikuchallenge
  • — Shawn Jones (@CaptainDucttape)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Punctuation
    predicate & subject
    a simple sentence
  2. #grammarday #haiku
  3. — Eric C Poncho (@MdrnPetroglyphs)

    March 3, 2014

  • Adjectives Adverbs
    Magical descriptive words
    metaphor builders
  • #grammarday #haiku
  • — Eric C Poncho (@MdrnPetroglyphs)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Punctuation
    predicate & subject
    a simple sentence
  2. #grammarday #haiku
  3. — Eric C Poncho (@MdrnPetroglyphs)

    March 3, 2014

You made a mistake
in your tweet about grammar.
Is that irony?

#grammarday #haiku

— Jill Golden (@_goldengrams)

March 3, 2014

  • Contractions endure
    as they did in a bygone
    year — your you’re of yore.
  • #grammarday
  • — John Hausman (@JohnSHausman)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Sociolinguist
  2. Deep In wild wordy woods of
  3. Decay and rebirth
  4. #grammarday #haiku
  5. — Robert Keim (@RobKeim)

    March 3, 2014

  • spel cheks dont matter
    4get da rulz of grammar
    one forty spaces
  • #grammarday #haiku
  • — Eric C Poncho (@MdrnPetroglyphs)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Everybody knows
    the pronoun is singular
    but they just don’t care.
  2. #grammarday
  3. — Ray Vallese (@RayVallese)

    March 3, 2014

Infinitive split / Some doubt ‘to’ is part of you / Sometimes you are bare #GrammarDay

— Agnieszka Karch (@5minutelanguage)

March 3, 2014

Oxford comma you see / before ‘and’ to well / meaning gauge, and be clear #GrammarDay

— Agnieszka Karch (@5minutelanguage)

March 3, 2014

  • #GrammarDay haikus
    must follow the rules, or else—
  • “too long, didn’t read.”
  • — Jill Golden (@_goldengrams)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Sentences and me:
    we don’t mind getting complex,
    but don’t make us run.
  2. #grammarday #haiku
  3. — Holly Ashworth (@ActuallyHolly)

    March 3, 2014

Oh semicolonYou are so the Jar Jar Binks of punctuation. #grammarday

— Rachel Menard (@MissusM)

March 3, 2014

#grammarday
That “word” ANYWAYS
should not end with that damn ‘S’.

The plural’s in ANY !!

— Mark Hanson (@MHanson62)

March 3, 2014

  • This is just to say
    I have truncated the verse
    That you were probab
  • #grammarday
  • — Ranjit Bhatnagar (@ranjit)

    March 3, 2014

  1. PEOPLE CAN DEBATE
    OXFORD COMMA, BUT HULK KNOW
    AP STYLE RULES!
  2. #GRAMMARDAY #HAIKU #HULKU
  3. — AP STYLE HULK (@APSTYLEHULK)

    March 3, 2014

In honor of #grammarday, here is my traditional Japanese haiku: rain drops drip / dots on the window pane: / punctuation

— Michelle Corbin (@michellecorbin)

March 3, 2014

WORDS AND HULKS CHANGE FORM
TO EXPRESS TENSE, MOOD AND VOICE!
WHEN WORDS CRASH, HULK SMASH!

#GRAMMARDAY #HAIKU #HULKU

— AP STYLE HULK (@APSTYLEHULK)

March 3, 2014

Writing the haiku / the dangling participle / sits there awkwardly #GrammarDay #Haiku (Retweet)

— William Reagan (@WilliamReagan)

March 3, 2014

Readers stayed away.
Did your headline have a verb?
I didn’t think so.

#grammarday

— Chris Smith (@cswriter)

March 3, 2014

#grammarday #haiku grammar conundrum / people learn half-truths as facts / then insist they’re done

— William Reagan (@WilliamReagan)

March 3, 2014

I’m deeply jealous.
The copy editors are
meeting in Vegas.

http://t.co/bXz7uBKqwX

#GrammarDay

— Julie Linden (@julieatlife)

March 3, 2014

  • love the ellipsis
    the period’s too final
    noncommittal end…
  • #grammarday
  • — sarah lockhart long (@iamsarahbeth)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Ed felt tense when he
    thought of words he can’t finish—
    he knew his limits.
  2. #grammarday
  3. — Jill Golden (@_goldengrams)

    March 3, 2014

  • A superhero
    called Ed can transport most words
    from present to past.
  • #grammarday
  • — Jill Golden (@_goldengrams)

    March 3, 2014

  1. Ah, “were” versus “was”
    When to use the subjunctive?
  2. Hypotheticals
  3. #grammarday
  4. — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

You can’t be alright / no matter how great things are / all right? All is right. #grammarday

— Kathleen Bethell (@katbethell)

March 3, 2014

  • There it sits in doubt
    Upon the edge it dangles
  • A modifier
  • -Because what is a dangling modifier if not grammatical suicide? #GrammarDay
  • — Robyn Roopchan (@RobynRoopchan)

    March 3, 2014

what happens to word
selected by a head in

DGs? It depends! #grammarday

— Zac Smith (@ZacTheLinguist)

March 3, 2014

I have a grievance / I yearn for fewer crows here / and for them, less food. #grammarday

— Kathleen Bethell (@katbethell)

March 3, 2014

  1. Writer, don’t stet me
    Your ego gets in the way
  2. Let’s work together
  3. #grammarday
  4. #grammarday
  5. — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

Whom shall I follow?
To whom shall I reply?
Who is calling me?

#grammarday

— Kathleen Bethell (@katbethell)

March 3, 2014

Autocorrect I snot your friend. Embrace meant soon follows. #grammarday

— Jennifer Leung (@jleung10)

March 3, 2014

  • Correct their grammar?
    Some verbatim written quotes
  • Still make me feel sic. #grammarday
  • — Chris Smith (@cswriter)

    March 3, 2014

The semi-colon / Only used by graduates / And who wish they were #GrammarDay

— Nick McRae (@Nick_McRae_)

March 3, 2014

  1. Neutral third-person
    singular pronoun: I hope
    someday we’ll find them.
  2. #GrammarDay #haiku
  3. — Rachel Kamins (@MsKFlax)

    March 3, 2014

  • Editors are right
    And we think you’re kind of dumb
  • Seems we can’t help it
  • #grammarday
  • — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

@Mazarkis_W Also, do not use prophesy (verb) when you mean prophecy (noun). That one drives me nuts. #grammarday

— Elspeth Cooper (@ElspethCooper)

March 3, 2014

  1. Some punctuation
    looks angry in texts, said Tom
    periodically.
  2. #GrammarDay #haiku
  3. — Rachel Kamins (@MsKFlax)

    March 3, 2014

  • Language changes
    But “healthy” versus “healthful”
  • I cannot abide
  • #grammarday
  • — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

The ultimate truth / the comma is optional / periods are not #GrammarDay

— Nick McRae (@Nick_McRae_)

March 3, 2014

AP style is wrong
No serial comma! What?

  1. Always follow Chicago
  2. #grammarday
  3. — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

Ok, here’s my final grammar day haiku: Grammar mistakes are fine / if you are an editor and / rely on them for a living #GrammarDay

— Amanda (@operarose)

March 3, 2014

  • The mighty em-dash—
    It’s 6–8 times bolder
    Than the hyphen.
  • #grammarday #haiku
  • — Ranjit Bhatnagar (@ranjit)

    March 3, 2014

  1. In dark moments when
    we’re anti-grammar, you and
    I are still pro-nouns.
  2. #grammarday #haiku
  3. — Holly Ashworth (@ActuallyHolly)

    March 3, 2014

  • For attorneys
    @BryanAGarner is god
  • Write in plain English
  • #grammarday
  • — Lex Hex (@Tingwall)

    March 3, 2014

National Grammar Day – March 4, 2020

National Grammar Day is celebrated on March 4 of every year. Languages are something to celebrate, and some peoples may suggest that Grammar is a set of rules to frame the language. But it is a system to learn or understand the language.

Understanding the system and the structure always helps us to understand the language and to learn the new languages. Even though there are some hard rules in grammar, it helps us to learn the language.

Hence National Grammar Day is a day to praise the nature of Grammar and assist the peoples to realize the importance of Grammar in a language.

I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you are trying to persuade the people to do something or to buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, and the language in which they think. We try to write in the Vernacular.” – David Ogilvy.

History of National Grammar Day

In 2008, Martha Brockenbrough, the founder of society for the promotion of proper Grammar and the author of “Things That Make Us,” founded the National Grammar Day. She sees the word abused very much and abused and only would not stand for another instance of the poor innocent language that treated poorly in her presence.

So she declared that all verbs, adverbs, nouns, and adjectives should deserve a day when people stood up for own rights. There should be no more apostrophes be lost, forgotten or misplaced. And there should be no more we find commas left out and proper nouns in lower cases.

For that, she wrote “Things that Makes us” to spread the word about poor grammar.

National Grammar Day

Other Celebrations on March 4

March 4 is also celebrated as

How to celebrate National Grammar Day

Celebrating National Grammar Day is quite simple and easy to remember. Just take a little extra effort to make your sentence grammatically correct. Spread awareness to the peoples about the importance of Grammar in a Language. Share your National Grammar Day celebrations on social media by using the hashtag #NationalGrammarDay.

 Thank you for reading the post. You can celebrate every day with Happydays365.org and Happy National Grammar Day 2020.

How blogging helped me learn English grammar: a native speakers tale

Many people have asked my how or why I decided to begin to write this blog, and for someone who is studying humanities subjects it really is a little embarrassing.

I didn’t begin to write Bitten by the Travel Bug because I was litterly bitten by a bug whilst travelling, neither was it because I had some crazy round-the-world trip planned, though eventually this became true.

It was because I wanted to improve my English language skills, particularly my grammar.

Writing has always been a big part of my life.

I was the book worm, the kid who excelled in English class and who wrote in a diary, but as I grew so did the world of technology – computers became something of a best friend to me and I would spend hours a day chatting with my friends online in a world where spelling and grammar were thrown out the window. Why practice spelling when I could be instead levelling up my NeoPet? (Please tell me some of you remember them!)

As I grew up I also changed schools a lot.

My first school shut down when I was in year 3 due to lack of numbers and from my comfortable little bubble where I was excelling in our bi-weekly English comprehension classes I was thrown into the deep end at the most prestigious girls school in my city. Whilst my vocabulary was still one of the broadest in the year my grammar was… well non-existant is what it was.

I didn’t understand verbs, adjectives, or nouns – something the other girls had been learning, and this then affected my other studies. I was the top of my class in speaking and reading French but come to the grammar tests I would be somewhere closer to the bottom.

I discovered the Media when I was 14.

I studied the subject at school and my passion quickly became apparent to my teacher and I was thrown in the deep in working at a local community channel on broadcasts each week. I loved it.

Meeting the talent, pressing the buttons, getting the best shots, editing – it was natural and easy to me and I continued working for the company for years before working with a national TV company.

University Journalism threw radio into the mix of passions as I tried to diversify my skill set for future employment. But it became apparent that even with having radio and broadcast skills under my belt I still missed a fundamental part of a journalists tool kit – I had no print experience.

The thought of having to submit articles for consideration to my local or state newspaper made me queasy. I knew how bad my grammar was and so I put the thought on the back burner hopelessly seeking a better way to gain print experience. My beloved Internet held the answer.

I’d dabbled in websites when I was younger in the days where I thought I was going to become a computer programmer and having been reading other peoples blogs for a while I really did think that I could make a website which would help me improve my English grammar and make for a great online portfolio.

Setting up my first website, the .net equivalent of the site you are on today, I began to write content about my upcoming trip to work at an American summer camp… and I quickly got a hater comment correcting my poor grammar in the nastiest way possible.

 It shocked me that someone could be so mean but it only made me more determined to improve.

My grammar is far from perfect but the more I write the better I get and comparing pieces from 2009 really do make me cringe when I see that I still thought ‘a lot’ was spelt ‘alot’. By writing, asking friends to correct my work and reading grammar tips from The Oatmeal and Grammar Girl I continue to learn what I’m doing wrong and how to improve it.

There are plenty of other ways to improve your grammar and learn English better though and the infographic below shows just that. Who knew Spiderman, Friends and the Titanic were so influential at helping people learn English!

Infographic: How to learn English via Kaplan Blog

This post is sponsored by Kaplan International.
As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Nicole is a frequent flying (sometimes) freelance writer with a love of aviation, cultural travel, and affordable luxury. When not studying towards her Masters or planning the next adventure, she works in one of Australia's top advertising agencies.

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