Yesterday was National Grammar Day

I really should have written this post yesterday, but somehow I inadvertently forgot. Sacrilege. No worries, it’s never too late in the day to honour grammar.

For those who don’t know, I have a deep, dark secret. In the same way that other people love sports or movies, I love grammar. There, I said it.

Good grammar makes me happy. For me, incorrect spelling is at the nadir of all unforgivable sins. Errors such as confusing “your” with “you’re” and they’re with “their” make me cringe. I also adore semi-colons; it’s not quite a comma and it’s not quite a full-stop. Genius.

It’s not the mistakes that I have a problem with as much as the attitude that correct spelling or grammar does not matter. It does matter, because once we let standards fall, it’s only a matter of time before we start communicating like Ali G or Vicky Pollard. As Malcolm X famously said:

“If we don’t stand for something, we may fall for anything.”

I used to think I was alone in this obsession with punctuation, until I discovered GrammarBlog. In fact, I was even featured once as a whistle-blower of sorts.

To honour grammar at its finest hour, I give you some of the most indispensable language-related links available on the Internet.

  • GrammarBlog: Naming and shaming examples of poor grammar. As their tag line states: “We’re not neurotic, just correct.”
  • GrammarGirl: Because even grammar bullies have occasional lapses, GrammarGirl provides essential quick and dirty tips. Perfect for when you’re not sure if it’s appropriate to use “while” or “whilst.”
  • Stephen Fry: What can I say Stephen Fry that hasn’t been said already? His “blessays” are simply joyous to read for any language aficionado.
  • Will Self: Journalist, author, satirist; one of the greatest writers of our time.
  • Literally, A Weblog: If there’s one common mistake I despise above all others, it’s the misuse of “literally.” For goodness’ sake, if it’s a metaphor, then literally cannot be used, because literally has to be used when the example is literal. You would think that this is self-explanatory, but evidently not.
  • Grammar Facebook groups: there are many, but just some of the ones I belong to include:
    • “So What If I’m a Grammar Nazi?”
    • “I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar”
    • “The Semicolon Appreciation Society” (N.B. This is an American group; really “semicolon” should be hyphenated, but I’ll let that one pass this time.)

That’s the shortlist.

Don’t forget to send in your examples of grammar errors to GrammarBlog, and if you have any favourite grammar sites, I’d love to hear about them. You can also proudly announce your love for language by purchasing a T-shirt from GrammarGirl’s online store.

Fellow grammar bullies, I salute you. Perhaps by working together, we can help to eradicate poor spelling and grammar.

Ok. Now that I have confessed about my love for grammar, I’m probably going to find that my English has deteriorated. Alas, cruel irony! No matter though; the aim of life is self-improvement: if I have inadvertently made some mistakes in the above post, I would love to hear about it.

UPDATE: I missed a closing bracket! None of are perfect. We can all help each other in this continuing struggle to polish our langwidge skills, innit.

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3 comments

  1. Reverse_Vampyr · March 28, 2008

    As a fellow grammar-phile, I loved this post. I don’t mind using the occasional colloquialism, but poor spelling and punctuation really get under my skin.

  2. Gez · April 28, 2008

    I’ve only just seen this post. Thanks for the plug.

    By the way, and I write this knowing you will take it in the good humour intended, strictly speaking you should have written, “none of us is perfect,” as ‘none’ should be treated as ‘not one’. This is explained by the marvellous Stephen Fry here

  3. evolution · April 28, 2008

    🙂

    I think you just proved my point! Wow, you learn something new every day… I love being corrected, so please feel free to critique me. If I can get better at grammar, my life will be that much more fulfilling.

    Now I’m becoming disturbingly paranoid about every word I write.

    I’m just happy I found people as passionate about grammar as I am: I was starting to think I was a bit weird and slightly nerdy, but now I’m feeling a whole lot better about myself.

    Absolutely adore Stephen Fry with a passion; his podcast is fabulously entertaining.

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