1. Education
Richard Nordquist

Start Spreading the Syntax for National Grammar Day

By January 11, 2008

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You've finally vacuumed all the tinsel off the carpet, extracted a tree ornament from the cat's esophagus, and stowed the life-size plastic Santa in the attic. The season of joy, thank goodness, is officially over. It's time to relax.

But not for long. As soon as one holiday is over, itís right on to the next. And I'm not talking about Penguin Awareness Day (January 20), Handwriting Analysis Week (the fourth week in January), Banana Bread Day (February 23), or even Love Your Pet Week (the third week of February).

No, the next big event for linguaphiles, syntactimaniacs, and SNOOTS is National Grammar Day. Hang on to your participles and mark your calendars for March 4.

Sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, National Grammar Day is the invention of Martha Brockenbrough, the deceptively cheerful author of the Encarta column Grumpy Martha's Guide to Grammar and Usage.

National Grammar Day, Martha tells us, is based on sound principles:

We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well with each other. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M.
Exactly how the day should be observed is still a bit vague (after all, this will be the first National Grammar Day), but it's clear that a T-shirt is involved.

In the meantime, start spreading the word--and the phonemes, morphemes,and syntax.

The Lighter Side of Language


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