A day to toast precision -- and tolerance
By Jan Freeman
February 24, 2008
MARCH, THOUGH A long month, is sadly short on holidays. But this year, there's relief in sight, at least for language watchers. The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar has declared March 4 a time to celebrate good usage: National Grammar Day.
SPOGG, founded in 2004 by Martha Brockenbrough (and open to all: Go to spogg.org), sends a slightly mixed message. It seeks members "appalled by wanton displays of Bad English" and threatens "mayhem, misery, madness" all around if we ignore the rules. On the other hand, says its manifesto, "we also encourage having a sense of humor about language."
We freely admit to the charge of sending slightly mixed messages. We prefer to think of them as shaken, not stirred, (though we hope they're stirring in any case). Good grammar is important. So is having a sense of humor about things--and recognizing some allegedly incorrect things aren't wrong, after all.
Good grammar, like life, is more complicated and subtle than you might think. This makes it all the more interesting.