On March 4, we let our inner nerd out for National Grammar Day! The day was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, the founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. The day’s motto is: “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!” We take that imperative seriously, so this National Grammar Day, we are celebrating the idiosyncrasies of the English language by studying up on common grammar mistakes, proofreading our correspondence, and thanking our editors!
Why We Love National Grammar Day
A. Grammar is useful
Grammar helps us be totally clear when sharing our thoughts. It’s the difference between inviting your mom to eat (“lets eat, mom!”) and eating your mom (“let’s eat mom!”). It’s the difference between enjoying cooking and also enjoying your pets (“I enjoy cooking, my cat, and my dog”) and cooking your pets (“I enjoy cooking my cat and my dog”).
B. Grammar is satisfying
Proofreading feels great. Finding a typo, misspelled word, or misused there, their, or they’re is incredibly satisfying. One might even call it day-making! Whether you’re reading over your own work, taking a red pen to a friend’s cover letter, or searching for an errant comma in The New York Times, knowing the rules of grammar and using them in everyday life scratches an itch that makes us feel great.
C. Grammar makes us nostalgic
So many grammar rules are permanently embedded in our brains because we learned them as children! It’s fun to go over grammar rules and be reminded of the mnemonics, songs, and cartoons that originally taught us the rules as kids. From Schoolhouse Rock to Sesame Street, grammar gives us a lot of great memories.
How to Celebrate National Grammar Day
1. Learn a new grammar rule
Is there a particular grammar rule you always feel like you have to double check? Use National Grammar Day as your excuse to finally memorize that pesky grammar rule! (One we are always looking up: lay versus lie! How to remember it: you lie down on the sofa, but you lay the book on the table!)
2. Get out your red pen
Newspapers and magazines go through several rounds of copyedits, but mistakes nearly always make it through. Celebrate National Grammar Day by acknowledging that no one is perfect with grammar, even the professionals! Read through your favorite magazine or newspaper with your grammar antenna on and your red pen at the ready to catch any mistakes. And what to do when you find one? Nothing beyond a big red circle and a smile.
3. Have a grammar party
Invite your friends over for grammar games! Play pin the apostrophe on the “it’s”; read out examples of the most hilarious grammar mistakes from the Internet; and stage a discussion on one of the greatest debates in the English language: the oxford comma, yay or nay?