Good Grammar: If You Won’t Use It, Who Will?
Did you have fun on National Grammar Day? We were having so much fun we decided to extend it to a week (Why not? Black History Month used to be a week, Secretaries’ Day went from a day to a week, and Italian-American History Month was once Columbus Day). Looking for appropriate goodies to serve at our Grammar Day cocktail party, we were disappointed to find that alphabet soup and Alpha-Bits don’t contain punctuation. That’s like leaving dogs out of animal crackers (What? There are no dogs in animal crackers? You’re kidding.).
Using alphabet cookie cutters, we cut canapés in the shape of letters and placed them on a platter spelling out c-o-m-m-a, p-a-r-a-g-r-a-p-h, and other appropriate celebratory terms, such as “dangling participle.” Worn out from energetic games of “Pin the Punctuation on the Paragraph” and “Terrible Translation Tromp,” we’ve decided to celebrate day two of National Grammar Week with more sedentary activities (and we’re totally taking a pass on “Grab the Colon”).
Lucky for us, Marsha Sramek wrote The Great Grammar Book: Mastering Grammar Usage and the Essentials of Composition which she filled with witty guidance to help us muddle our way to good grammar. Make that “great” grammar. In addition to the lessons, Sramek supplies plenty of exercises (which of course we’re using for the big competition) to help readers improve their grammar usage and discover their weaknesses. The Great Grammar Book starts with a 100-question “diagnostic grammar test” and immediately jumps into one of my favorite categories “Subject-Verb Agreement.” Chapter two covers all the complaints Internet Grammar Nazis voice: you/you’re, its/it’s, there/their/they’re, should of/should’ve and so many more of the misuses that make readers cringe.Continued on the next page