Thursday 4 March 2010

Grammar Day

Apparently today has been Grammar Day! (Cue awful joke: what about Grandpa Day, huh?) Booking Through Thursday inform he thus, and ask this:

In honour of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

Yes, BTT, yes it does matter to me. I have a few guides dotted around, don't tend to read them... but I do own a T-shirt with this on it (my T-shirt isn't yellow, but this is the only good image I could find):

I understand that, in the long run, grammar probably doesn't matter... but I don't love grammar-accuracy out of snobbishness or a need to be superior, but just because it feels right. And, even more so, it feels horribly wrong to get it wrong. Perhaps your reaction is the same as my friend who wrote on Facebook the other day: 'If there's one thing I hate, it's pedanticness' - to which my reply, of course, was 'I think you mean pedantry.'

Over to you...


  1. National Grammar Day was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter today

  2. No matter how many grammar books I own, I will never get over my irrational fondess for the comma. I will pretty much use them anywhere, particularly in places where they should not be. I try to restrain myself but am overwhelmed, time after time. As a result of this lapse, I try to be more tolerant of others. I generally fail (surely, it is not that difficult to learn the proper use of there/their?), but the attempt was (sort of) made.

    Text-speak hurts my soul and, unfortunately, it's all that my friends appear to speak - it's even worse with those a few years younger than us. This use of 'teh' for the? And 'I can has/haz'? No. What is wrong with writing as you would speak? Unless they're speaking that way too...then we're all doomed.

  3. Grammar and spelling really bug me. I read absolutely everything with a pencil in my hand, proofreading - a holdover from long ago days when I used to do some editing. That said, I think email and text-speak in general is killing us all. I don't think everyone who mistypes their/there/they're or to/too/two is necessarily ignorant of proper usage, so much as their fingers can't keep up with their thoughts. As much as I try to proof my own emails and posts before I hit send/publish, I am always astonished by what escapes me when I go back to re-read. That said, I'm not very merciful with the same things in published books -- I just know how many more times it should've been read and proofed before the ink ever hit the paper. There's also an over-reliance on spell-check programs that are far from infallible. (And how many hyphens and dashes did I just put in this novella?) :)

  4. *looks up pedantry* I am probably your worst nightmare then. :) Here's mine

  5. I've got Fowler et al and never look at them. I *do* use the very small Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. So useful when you wonder whether or not to use a hyphen.
    For a laugh, try A P Herbert's What a Word! if you see a second-hand copy somewhere.

  6. I do indeed possess a number of books on grammar, style and writing guidelines as you might expect of an academic. I am not so convinced that txt speak or indeed email will be the death of grammar, "proper" speech or civilisation as we know it any more than the invention of mass printing, film, or television were either.


  7. Although I have a fondness for run-on sentences, I still feel the need to correct incorrect grammar. I can't seem to cure myself of that. It's just because it feels so right.

  8. I am a stickler for grammar and get perhaps unreasonably upset by the fact that not many other people are these days -- yourself always excluded of course.

  9. I think you've hit the nail on the head: "It feels horribly wrong to get it wrong."

    Alas, unlike you and I, too many people
    a) don't know they've got it wrong
    b) don't care

  10. Your bit about pedantry nearly had me spitting Diet Coke on my screen. Too funny!


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