3 Ways to Celebrate National Grammar Day

3 Ways to Celebrate National Grammar Day

For proofreaders, every day is “Grammar Day.” But for everyone else, National Grammar Day is March 4. So how should you celebrate this pedantic date? We have a few suggestions…

1. Dress Up as a Famous Grammarian

We’ve inherited a few bogus grammar rules from days gone by, often thanks to grammarians who wanted English to be more like Latin. Robert Lowth, for example, once said:

The placing of the Preposition before the Relative is more graceful, as well as more perspicuous; and agrees much better with the solemn and elevated Style.

This was an early version of the “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” rule we have today. And while we do not agree with this rule, or many rigidly prescriptive grammar rules, we can’t deny that these Latin-loving grammarians have had a big influence on English.

So why not embrace this fact? For National Grammar Day, we’ve dressed up as 18th– and 19th-century grammarians, and we’re going to tell everyone they’re wrong about everything.

2. Use the Passive Voice All Day

Do you like grammar? Do you like a challenge? Then try celebrating National Grammar Day by changing your grammatical voice! To be specific, we suggest using the passive voice all day.

This means emphasizing the recipient or object of an action over the person performing it. So rather than saying “I am going to take a walk,” you could say “A walk will be taken by me.” And instead of saying “I feel hungry,” you could say “Hunger is felt by me.” Simple, eh?

If nothing else, your day of passive vocalization will help you appreciate the active voice. And, as a bonus, if anyone is still speaking to you by the evening, you’ll know they are a true friend.

3. Become an Apostrophe Vigilante

Imagine, if you will, that you need some ingredients for a meal. So imagine, too, that you go to a shop and find a sign that says…

The dreaded grocer's apostrophe!
The dreaded grocer’s apostrophe!
(Photo: Cory Doctorow/flickr)

Did you just lose your appetite? We did. There is, after all, a crucial difference between a plural and a possessive. And it is upsetting to see an apostrophe abused like that.

But maybe National Grammar Day is the perfect time to start fighting back.

We cannot, for legal reasons, actively encourage anyone to arm themselves with corrector fluid and go out into the night to fix errant apostrophes on signage. But nor would we want to put off any enterprising pedants who feel inclined to do this. Just don’t tell anyone we suggested it.

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