Happy National Grammar Day!

Today is National Grammar Day!

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and MSN Encarta have designated March 4, 2008 as National Grammar Day.

How can you participate? Here’s what Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the National Grammar Day website, had to say:

Speak well! Write well! And on March 4, march forth and spread the word. If you see a sign with a catastrophic apostrophe, send a kind note to the storekeeper. If your local newscaster says “Between you and I,” set him straight with a friendly e-mail.

Want to wear your support for grammar? Check out the great goodies offered from the SPOGG gift shop!

In honor of National Grammar Day I’ve created a Grammar & Punctuation blogroll on the right side of my blog. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally there.

Do you have some grammar pet peeves? I have a few, but one that sticks with me is nauseated versus nauseous. Blame that one on my college roommate, S, who is an absolute grammar snob!

Grammar Girl on nauseated versus nauseous:

It’s common to hear people say they’re nauseous when their stomach is upset, but language sticklers hold that nauseous means to induce nausea, whereas nauseated means you feel sick. So when you’re describing how sick you feel, you should say you are nauseated; when you’re describing something that makes you sick, you should call it nauseous.

Strunk and White agree that the adjective nauseous means “sickening to contemplate,” and the adjective nauseated means “sick to the stomach.” Strunk goes on to say:

Do not, therefore, say, “I feel nauseous,” unless you are sure you have that effect on others.

(I’m not a grammar snob, but rather a grammar educator, so I understand that “nauseous” may indeed become the more acceptable term in years to come. Still, because of my roommate, I can’t help but think of Strunk & White’s definition every time I hear someone use the word.)

My husband is a bit dyslexic, and calls me his built-in spell-check. I’m always helping him with distinguishing between “there, their, and they’re” and “too and to.” Misuse and abuse of apostrophes bothers me, too — I catch examples of these all the time on store signs (e.g., its and it’s). Also, “could of” instead of “could have.” It’s “have,” not “of”!

What’s your “favorite” grammar goof or pet peeve?

Which grammar goof is your pet peeve?

(Edited to add: Good catch on the “favorite peeve,” Lori! Least favorite doesn’t seem to work, either. Hmm. How about “most irritating”? See my edit above.)

Mrs. Write Right, Word Therapist, is a proud partner with the official National Grammar Day website.


I'm a wife and mommy first, as well as a social media consultant/manager, editor, and writer. I'm also editor of Musical Reviewer and Houston Theatre Blog.

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4 comments on “Happy National Grammar Day!
  1. Lori says:

    Welcome back, Julia. :))

    Can one have a “favorite” pet peeve? :)) I think my eyeballs turn to mush every time I hear someone say “prostate” when they mean “prostrate”. It’s the visual image…

    I cannot tolerate the misuse of “than” versus “then”. When I get an email or hear someone talking and the person uses “then” when they mean “than”, I immediately label them as uneducated. Why? I don’t know. Call me a snob, but it just bugs me no end!

  2. Julia says:

    Ha ha, Lori– good catch! I’ve edited my post to better reflect what I meant to say. I wanted to convey that one could have a favorite grammar goof, or a pet peeve, but it didn’t come across well. Now it asks, “Which grammar goof is your pet peeve?”

    At Absolute Write we used to have a member who always wrote “in” when she meant “and”. Argh! That was one of the worst–so ignorant! One could almost hear the accent, imagine the lack of education, and feel sad about the obvious illiteracy.

    It’s amazing when it evokes such feelings of frustration, and then turns into sadness for those who don’t understand. I say that it was sad because she truly expressed a desire to write, but she just didn’t “get” it. Now, I don’t feel sadness toward the wannabe-illiterate. That’s just pure frustration there.

    Thanks for stopping by! It feels good to be back. 🙂

  3. Lori says:

    Sorry, Julia – I wasn’t trying to embarrass you! I knew what you meant, too. :))

    “In” instead of “and”? Man, that’s really bad!

    I’m more forgiving of goofs like using “irregardless” when meaning “regardless”. Let’s just say I have a higher tolerance when the word is bigger. ;)) But I come across a lot of writing – and high-level execs are the worst – that contains numerous misspellings, misuse of apostrophes (“Thanks” does NOT have an apostrophe, people!), and bad sentence structure.

    More proof that proofreading has died….

  4. One of my pet peeves is when educated people address holiday cards to our family as “The Lehmann’s.” The possessive form would be correct only if they were to write “The Lehmann’s Card.”

    I have others. When they surface, I’ll let you know! 🙂

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