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National Grammar Day: Prelude
Tuesday, March 4, 2008   7:17 AM

Do you adore clean, correct sentences? Do ungrammatical advertisements make you cringe? We understand completely, and this is why the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar and MSN Encarta have designated March 4, 2008 as National Grammar Day.

Today is National Grammar Day. John McIntyre was spotted wandering the streets yesterday in his camel-hair suit (seasonal), joyously proclaiming the impending Grammarocalypse. There were even rumors that four horsemen had been spotted...

Which is to say: count me among those who worry that this holiday will just empower would-be pedants.

I mean, obviously it will — "Do ungrammatical advertisements make you cringe?" is a clear appeal to the Princess and the Pea school of prescriptivism — but after today, will we have a better-informed public, or just more people acting like assholes because they know not to use the word irregardless?

For the most part, the posts so far from National Grammar Day partner blogs have given me some reason for optimism:

Grammar Girl provided good usage advice and pointed out some common misconceptions in Top 10 Language Myths.

At You Don't Say, McIntyre described his eventual realization that sloppy writing is not a moral failing and invited all of us to enjoy a Grammartini. I can definitely get behind that idea.

And Mighty Red Pen, after surveying the evolving Grammar Day controversy, wrote:

MRP is proud to be a National Grammar Day participating blog. As such, I intend to embrace the spirit of the day, which to me is to celebrate the joy and complexity of language, and our shared interest in it.

I'm too much of a language geek not to appreciate National Grammar Day, whatever my complaints about its specific focus. And I'd rather represent mystery shop editors and militant reactive grammarians and whatever else I am than pout on the sidelines.

So I'll be "liveblogging" throughout the day today (if I could make those scarequotes scarier, I would) until work picks up and/or I run out of stuff to post.

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