Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March Forth!

Today Is The First National Grammar Day

If you don't have a good handle on basic grammar, you can't always say what you mean. People might be able to guess your meaning, but not every time.

Martha Brockenbrough

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and National Grammar Day are the brainchild of Seattleite Martha Brockenbrough (Elizabeth -- blogling, you'd love her, she's a geek and works for Bill). Brockenbrough is a columnist with Microsoft's Encarta and authors the very useful and entertaining SPOGG blog. (Read her National Grammar Day column in Encarta and find out which celebrity has the worst grammar. We in Seattle know her well.)

Seattleites are very serious about grammar. The good, the bad, and the ugly can all be found displayed at the SPOGG Blog. I am one of the 6,000 members of the Society, even though you'd never know it from the grammar usage in my blog posts -- I am not worthy. We in Seattle are so serious about our grammar we even correct our graffiti and have our own cocktail, the Grammartini.

One of my favorite sections of the SPOGG Blog is the Blogs We Love list. The best of the best Grammar and Language Blogs can be found in this extensive list. Grammar Girl, you've got to love her, has created a special grammar-related top 10 show to celebrate National Grammar Day. Number 8 makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up:

8. Irregardless is not a word. Wrong! Irregardless is a word in the same way ain't is a word. They're informal. They're nonstandard. You shouldn't use them if you want to be taken seriously, but they have gained wide enough use to qualify as words.
Thou shalt not say "irregardless" if you mean "regardless" or "irrespective."

For those of you who remember "Schoolhouse Rock," take a look at Punctuation Rap by Ms. Lindsay Rivas of the University Charter School in Modesto, California. She wrote this for her kindergarteners. How I wish we had more teachers like Ms. Rivas, who is featured on the SPOGG Blog.

When it comes to grammar, perhaps we in Seattle are wound just a little too tightly, or perhaps it's the frequent trips to Starbucks. To illustrate my point, the Sunday Seattle Times features a Rand & Rave column; this past Sunday it let out one large grammar rant that I will share with you today, National Grammar Day:

To the person who crossed out the word "can" every time it appeared in the King County Library book I'm reading and wrote in the word "may." In pen yet! It's dialogue; that's how people talk sometimes, you grammar Nazi! Not to mention you've defaced public property. By the way, I am a librarian.

National Grammar Day In The News -- our own King 5 News has done an article, "Me and Him Are Gonna Party on National Grammar Day."

Brockenbrough says she doesn't go around correcting everyone she comes in contact with. But, she says, when someone is making an error that could be embarrassing, on a resume or on a public sign, for example, it's only right to gently alert the person to the error.

"It's sort of like having your zipper down," she says. "Would you rather someone took you aside and said, 'Hey, the barn door is open,' or would you rather get home after a long day and discover the sad state of your fly?"

The SPOGG Web site features all things grammar, from grammar tips and a quiz, to "Grumpy Martha's Guide to Grammar and Usage."

There's also a place for grammarians to send in photos of "apostrophe catastrophes" and other language missteps.

"Sometimes when people screw up it's really stinking funny," said Brockenbrough.

Read The Rest Of The Article ">> Note: The King 5 site may require free registration.

So, let's party like we know where to place that comma,
colon, semicolon or apostrophe.
Celebrate National Grammar Day -- Break Out Those Red Pens!
Oh, and a Grammartini!


Inspiration and material borrowed heavily from Martha Brockenbrough. Nobody does it better!

Photograph Courtesy -- SPOGG



Blogger Terry Thornton said...


Keep those Grammartinis flowing. After a few, you'll ask, "What grammar?" And after a few more, you won't care that once grammar police with huge red pencils made life not worth living. And have a few more, and you'll be ready to start composing free of those tyrants! LOL!


March 4, 2008 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


It is 1:00 pm here in the Pacific Northwest and the Grammartinis are flowing.

So what post are you talking about? Things are a little blurred.


March 4, 2008 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

First of all, I'd like to thank you for the lovely comment you left over at Little Bytes of Life. I was just leaving a comment myself when I spyed yours. Thank you :)

LOL @ the Grammartini! :D

March 4, 2008 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Janice said...




March 4, 2008 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


You never know where you will find people talking about you.

I am one of your fans! For every one person in the blogosphere I promote you to, there are ten times that many that I drag to a computer and show your work.

Hope you're feeling well.



I CN N I HV, Hiccup!


March 4, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Doyle said...

Ah, fM, you have struck a chord! If I hear one more television character utter the phrase "I feel badly" I may scream (then have a couple of those Grammartinis.) Do none of the writers in Hollywood know of the predicate adjective?

Thank you for the opportunity to rant and for the link to SPOGG. Another distraction - I'm never going to get all of the COG posts read!


March 4, 2008 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Lori Thornton said...

I wish that you could have graded my students' papers for grammar and spelling. I still haven't figured out what some of them were trying to communicate!

March 4, 2008 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Lidian said...

Thank you for the link to SPOGG - I have bookmarked it. And I am wondering what is in a Grammartini, it sounds quite delightful!

Thank you also for your very kind comment on my blog - it's an honor indeed coming from you.

March 4, 2008 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Having spent the month of January watching TV and DVDs, I wanted to run screaming from the house.

What Hollywood writers don't know could be the subject of an entire post.

Ah, sample that Grammartini!



It was difficult enough trying to help my own children.

How do you grade the papers of children growing up in this world? From music -- to advertisements -- to TV, the examples set by their role models just plain stink.



The recipe for a Grammartini is on the SPOGG site along with the one for Turkey chili.

My comments about your blog aren't kind, they are accurate. Your writing speaks for itself. Your inventive style, what can I say? You're a pro.


March 4, 2008 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...


What's really awful is when I read newsletters published by school staff with master's degrees (I don't even have an A.A.) and I'm subconsciously correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation! Ugh! I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm definitely always trying to improve by using the dictionary and other reference works!

One of daughter's and my favorite activities is driving down the main thoroughfare here in town and verbally correcting all the businesses' reader boards. I know, I know, we need to get a life, but we don't have a Grammar Society on the East Side.

Thanks for the link to the SPOGG blog. I'm off to check it out, now!

P.S. One of my favorite books is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss!

March 4, 2008 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Thank you! I really don't know what to say :)

March 5, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Oh, hi... I must have been daydreaming about Bill! [grin]

As a former public elementary school teacher, I can tell you that it's not easy correcting those papers everyday. What's even worse is trying to explain things to the parents sometimes!

There's a commercial on TV now in California where the slogan is "Where You At?" Makes me want to scream every time I hear it.

I really enjoyed this post and will have to check out the SPOGG link. My family calls me The Grammar Police, so I'll probably fit right in!

Your blog is fabulous! And I did check out Nikki-Ann's blog - I'm a subscriber now (she didn't have to drag me, Nikki-Ann; I went willingly).

March 5, 2008 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


When I drive past those awful signs, it's all I can do to keep my eyes open. But then, Washington law requires it.


See - they go willingly.


Where You At Girl, out correcting graffiti? Show them your badge Grammar Police.

Thank you for the "fabulous" remark and for telling nikki-ann you went willingly.


March 6, 2008 at 8:05 PM  

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