Happy National Grammar Day!
National Grammar Day, sponsored by The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), is celebrated annually on March 4. I’m sure that someone somewhere has scheduled an event with party hats and noisemakers. I thought perhaps we’d content ourselves with a quiet celebration and a few links to interesting grammar resources. If you visit the links from the NGD site, I’d suggest you preview them before sharing them with your family, as I haven’t checked them all.
Let’s begin with a podcast of “Top Ten Grammar Myths” from Grammar Girl. She tackles the myths that trip would-be grammar experts everywhere, including items such as the true definition of run-on sentences, possessives, the use of ‘a’ or ‘an,’ split infinitives, and the number one myth– ending a sentence with a preposition. Whether you listen to the podcast or just read the transcript, you’re sure to enjoy her good-humored debunking of these common myths. (If you’d like to read more about grammar myths, don’t forget Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins.)
At the GrammarBlog and the Mighty Red Pen blog, you’ll find a number of photos of very funny grammar errors. You can learn a lot from these! If you find yourself thinking, “There’s nothing wrong with that!” as you look at the execrable examples, you can be sure that you too, are a grammar miscreant.
A Way With Words is a delightful radio show/podcast from National Public Radio. You can’t listen to this show without eventually becoming reasonably word-savvy. Since you can listen online at your convenience, I suggest listening when your children are a captive audience. It’s good-quality information, well-produced.
Of course, I wouldn’t want to miss the chance to encourage you to check out Grammar Made Easy: Writing A Step Above by Connie Schenkelberg. It’s a one-step, one-time through grammar course that can be used for multiple ages. I used it with my boys, and learned quite a bit, including diagramming, in the process. If you want to feel more comfortable with grammar, GME is a an excellent resource.
As you look through the various celebrations of the day, please remember that it’s best to enjoy well-written English without being unkind to others. As you evaluate your children’s writing, do so with grace, not just because “the sweetness of lips increases learning” (Proverbs 16:21), but also because you would want others to be equally generous with your errors.
It’s a lot of fun to laugh at misplaced apostrophes or misspelled words on public signs (and it’s educational, if you point out why it’s incorrect), but it’s not so kind to point out errors in private correspondence or to discuss children’s errors with others. There’s a difference between educational fun and ridicule, and I hope we can always remember that kindness and gentleness breed trust, and trust is essential for teaching to the heart of a child.
On a final note, the first week of March is also Words Matter Week, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writing Evaluators (NAIWE). I’m sure you can think of many ways to celebrate!