I discovered today, thanks to my friend Mark, that this is National Grammar Day. As a storyteller, as one who creates with words, I had to acknowledge this special day.
National Grammar Day, which is always celebrated on March 4, was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, the author of “Things That Make Us [Sic]” and founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG).
Brockenbrough declared, “Language is something to be celebrated, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”
I opted in! I’ve had a fun day looking at humorous memes and checking out Facebook pages and websites that focus on grammar. Words are powerful. They convey thoughts. My words can encourage, inspire, infuriate, calm, ridicule or confuse. How another perceives me is, in part, influenced by my choice of words, and whether I use those words correctly.
The practice of texting has created a type of language shorthand that is so prevalent today. I confess that I’m old school, or perhaps just old! I have not adopted typing r for are, or u for you, although I will include an occasional lol. Isn’t that more of an acronym? I don’t mind if others use abbreviations for common words, however, I’ve chosen not to.
Grammar mistakes are rampant on public social media sites such as Facebook, prompting me to look up the top grammatical errors. Here are the top two:
They’re is a contraction of they are. If you can substitute those two words in the sentence and it sounds right, it is correct. They’re (they are) very sleepy. Correct! Their (they are) shoes are over there (they are). They’re is not the correct word.
Their refers to something owned, while there indicates a place.
This one is my personal pet peeve, and it’s not difficult to figure out which word to use. The difference between these two is owning something versus being something.
Your little princess is here. (Your is a possessive showing ownership.)
You’re a little princess! (You’re is a contraction of you are.)
If in doubt, use the same substitution trick mentioned above. If you can replace the word with you are, and it sounds right, you are correct. You’re (you are) sick. Correct! Your (you are) dog is cute. You’re is not the correct choice.
The proper, and apparently important, use of commas is another lesson for another time. For information about commas, and 22 additional grammar mistakes that are commonly made, check out this blog.
I have appreciated an increased awareness of grammar today. For me, using grammar correctly is crucial, in my writing and my speaking. And I certainly make my share of mistakes. Although I read through a blog post at least a dozen times before posting, I invariably miss a typo or an error. I have formed the habit of reading through the post an hour or more after I hit the publish button, to check for mistakes with fresh eyes.
Texts are a different matter! I am rather famous for my blunders in my text messages, as my phone attempts to predict my next word. I have hit send way too many times, and then cringed with dismay.
My worst error ever was to my son, fortunately. I asked him, via text, if he would like for me to pick him up early, so we could hang out before the orgy. The word was supposed to be party! My son replied, “Uh, I think I’ll stay here!” My kids have not let me forget that one. And I had a hard time explaining why that particular word was chosen by my phone. (I still don’t know why! Contrary to what my kids suggested, orgy is not a word I commonly use.)
Ah well. My words can be powerful and creative forces that change the world. Or occasionally they can be comical errors that send my family and friends into peals of laughter. I’m a wordsmith. What else can I say?