Monday, March 4

It's National Grammar Day!

Hey, it's Nan, coming to you on a Monday this week. We decided to spend March, which happens to be Reading Awareness Month, focusing on the special days during the month that emphasize reading and readers. Believe it or not, there are a bunch of days in March that celebrate reading and readers! I picked National Grammar Day for obvious reasons... I'm an editor in my day job.

 How many of you have read a book where the grammar errors just leaped out at you. I'm not talking about a couple of misplaced commas or the occasional "hte" instead of "the"--that stuff happens to everyone. Nope I'm talking about really glaring stuff, sentences that go on for line after line, consistently misused words, using numerals instead of spelling out numbers one through a hundred or mixing up the usage, and my personal gripe--not using a serial (or Oxford) comma. Here are some that make me really crazy when they show up in a "edited" book:

  • Consistently using "phase" for "faze." Phase means to introduce something in stages. Faze means to disturb the composure of; to daunt So, Sally wasn't fazed by that phase of the project is correct usage here.
  • Mr. Franklin gave the boy 13 eggs and four quarts of milk. Uh-uh. Mr. Franklin gave the boy thirteen eggs and four quarts of milk.
  • Oxford comma: Famous example here, but still one of my faves: She thanked her parents, Ayn Rand and God. Um, nope her parents aren't Ayn Rand and God, that would just be weird. Corrected: She thanked her parents, Ayn Rand, and God. Make sense? Good. Oxford commas, use them!
  • Here's a sample too-long sentence from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey: “Her plan for the morning thus settled, she sat quietly down to her book after breakfast, resolving to remain in the same place and the same employment till the clock struck one; and from habitude very little incommoded by the remarks and ejaculations of Mrs. Allen, whose vacancy of mind and incapacity for thinking were such, that as she never talked a great deal, so she could never be entirely silent; and, therefore, while she sat at her work, if she lost her needle or broke her thread, if she heard a carriage in the street, or saw a speck upon her gown, she must observe it aloud, whether there were anyone at leisure to answer her or not.” Whew. It's Jane Austen, so of course we forgive her, but man...that is one long sentence! And aren't those so dang distracting to readers?

    Now, go have a glass a wine and toast an editor! We do our best to make your reading experience a happy, grammatically correct experience. Happy Grammar Day!


    1. I didn't know that about 13 and four... Good post, Nan!

    2. very interesting! really enjoyed it.

      1. Thanks for stopping by, WVA! Happy to have you with us!

    3. Long live the Oxford Comma! Huzzah!!!!

    4. Huzzah indeed! I'm a devout advocate!

    5. I've been rather lax about my Oxford commas lately, but I am suitably informed of the error of my ways. I shall henceforth endeavor to include the comma from this point forward. (The Jane Austen got to me there!)