My wordies — how time has flown! If it’s March 4, it’s National Grammar Day once again, and here’s MRP with some goodies. Just. For. You.
First, h/t to one of my roving reporters for this little tidbit, spotted in Minneapolis. Oh dear, will no one think of the childrens and add an apostrophe to Children’s Center? Please?
Next, you could do no better than to head over to the official National Grammar Day site (put together by the one and only Grammar Girl) for t-shirts, contests, free wallpaper, and other Grammar Day swag. While you’re there, you’ll want to check out this year’s installment of John E. McIntyre‘s Grammarnoir serial: “Grammar Never Takes a Holiday” (and read Grammarnoirs of years past) and get the results of Editor Mark‘s grammar haiku contest. And for real-live Grammar Day fun, check out #grammarday on Twitter.
And there’s more. More! Because you’ve been so good this year, here’s the late, great Pete Seeger with his rendition of “English is Crazy” (more like English is curaaaaayzee!). You know that’s true.
And if you’ve never seen this piece by poet Taylor Mali, then you’ll want to check out “The The Impotence of Proofreading,” like, now. H/t to David for that.
And finally, wordies, please remember what MRP has always told you on this most special of word nerd days: You have been given a great power and with it comes great responsibility. Have mercy — do not use your ability to write grammatically correct, well-punctuated, and perfectly spelled sentences to put down and insult those who struggle mightily. Go forth and be kind to others who have made mistakes. Peeve no more — next time, the red pen may be pointed at you. Happy National Grammar Day!
On this National Grammar Day, here are some suggestions of ways in which to celebrate:
Or make like MRP and bake some delicious chocolate truffle with sea salt cookies.
Wait, what? Yeah, that’s what I said: bake some cookies. Or, if baking isn’t your thing, do something else that brings you enjoyment on this day. Because, as I’ve said before and will say again, there’s nothing about National Grammar Day that should invite us to do anything other than share in the fun (and really, what goes together better than chocolate and grammar?). So settle back with a grammartini, sing the Grammar Song, and snuggle up with your favorite style guide. And have fun.
Have a happy National Grammar Day, wordies. March forth and peeve no more.
Yo, wordies: You know what tomorrow is, right?
That’s right: National Grammar Day. Check out the official website for resources, t-shirts, songs, this year’s installment of John E. McIntyre’s Grammarnoir serial, and much more.
Okay, I don’t really judge anyone for using poor grammar. I mean, not really.
Okay, maybe just a little. But just a little.
H/t someecards and Beth.
I’m a little in love with the Target coupon booklet that came in the mail yesterday.
I admit I just flipped through it and almost tossed it without paying much attention to its concept, largely because it’s got the regular look and feel of most Target mailings. It was just lying on my counter this morning when the front finally caught my eye. I mean, what kind of line is “Hi, Coupons!”? What could it mean?
So I looked at it a little more closely and read the line “(Or should we say, ‘haiku-pons’?)”. Underneath that, it said, “Stock up with poetic savings inside.” This was starting to get a little strange—and a little awesome—for Target.
So I opened it up. Inside, there’s a little explanation of what a “haiku-pon” is and how to write a haiku. Neat.
Here’s how it works. You look at the coupons:
You see a haiku (I mean, loosely speaking. These maybe don’t follow all the rules of traditional haiku). Then maybe you use one of the coupons. In tearing out one of the coupons, you expose the lines on the back of the next coupon.
Now you have a NEW haiku.
Well, the end of this story is that I Googled the Target haiku-pons and apparently this is only new to me; they have been around for a while. And it’s not particularly good or high-brow kind of poetry.
But still, it’s poetry in an unexpected place. And for that, I kind of love it.
In this little eggcorn, an unsuspecting YouTube commenter uses peddle stool when pedestal was the word they were seeking.
Peddle stool (or pedal stool) seems to be a somewhat common rendering of pedestal (as documented, for example, by the Eggcorn Database and Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage) but what people understand a peddle stool (or pedal stool) to even be is kind of beyond me. Anyone got any ideas?
A quick perusal of the InterWebs leads to all kinds of eggcorn-related amusement, though. This guy sings a whole song about being put up on a peddle stool. Over at Language Log, there’s an entire essay composed of eggcorns. And tv show “The IT Crowd” got some mileage out of the joke.
Apparently, folks in California are looking forward to a visit from one of their favorite folk heroes: Paul Bunion. Wonder if he’ll be traveling with his pals Tom Toenail and Harry the Hammertoe.
Here on the East Coast, we’ll be holding out for a visit from that other guy: Paul Bunyan.
H/t to my West Coast correspondent, who spotted this little tidbit in the East Bay Express.
This little tidbit spotted in Metrowest Boston struck a certain chord:
Okay, here’s the deal. If you are buying a “a unit of wood cut for fuel equal to a stack 4 x 4 x 8 feet or 128 cubic feet,” then that’s a cord (M-W). If you are a strumming on your guitar by the fire that you have built using some of the wood from the cord you just bought, then you are playing a few chords (“three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously,” M-W).
If you get a very good deal on your cord of wood, you might be getting it for a song. But that’s a lot of chords. Usually. Unless it’s a very boring song. Then maybe only one chord. But that’s a different story.
This little tidbit, spotted on Craigslist, absolutely cracked me up. The poster is trying to make their old table seem more appealing by labeling it as shabby chic. Instead, they mixed chic with sheik, and gave it a whole new meaning.
Okay, here’s the deal: If you are talking about “a male leader in an Arab country,” then the word you want is sheik (or sheikh) (Macmillan). If you are talking about something that is “fashionable and attractive in style,” then the word you want is chic (Macmillan). Is it possible for there to be a shabby sheik? No doubt. But when referring to furniture, the term you want is shabby chic.
Here’s more on chic-sheik as homophones and as eggcorns.
This sentence is possibly one of the most tortured pieces of writing I have come across in a long, long time. It appeared in an article about a recent performance Aerosmith gave outside the Boston apartment building they used to live in back in the day.
“Across the street from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. is a sign that Aerosmith band members wrote in a book they would see when they walked out the front door of their apartment building during the early 1970s.”
Here’s the problem: this poor little sentence is trying to do too many things at once. Is it a sign they wrote in a book? Is it a book they would see when they walked out the front door of their apartment building? Or is it neither of these? My red pen is itching to get at it.
From the rest of the article, we find out that it’s a sign they would see when they walked out of their apartment and that they wrote about in a book. But that’s a long way to get there from here. With a little editing, this sentence could be pared down and reordered to reflect that, something like this (for example):
“Across the street from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. is a sign that Aerosmith band members would see when they walked out the front door of the apartment building
, which they lived in during the early 1970s. They wrote about seeing the sign in their book.”
But unfortunately, that’s a lot less interesting than the idea of them writing a sign in a book they would see when they walked out of their apartment. And hey, it was Aerosmith, and it was the 1970s. Anything was possible.