Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Grammar Day

Ms. Beezle-Bubb wants you to know that today is National Grammar Day, brought to you by the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG).

From the website:
Language is something to be celebrated, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It's not only a date, it's an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!

I can't tell you how uptight this makes me as I worry about using the proper form of "there" and "its." I'm just not cut out for this grammar stuff in all its particular glory.

Then again, I don't think I'm the worse off for the occasional lapse in grammar. And I'm not the only one. The SPOGG folks posted one mighty deadly yet grammatically correct song on the National Grammar Day website while mocking the grammar of, for example, "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. Mick's sure sorry now.

"Satisfaction" is in their Grammar Hall of Shame musical playlist, along with such dreadful grammatical examples as "What if God was one of us" (properly the subjunctive "were") and Bo Diddley's travesty, "Who do you love," which would sound so much better as "whom." Good thing SPOGG is there to protect us from This Sort Of Thing.

Which would you rather sing along to? I mean, to which along with would you rather sing? Give me the grammatically correct version every time, don't you know. Mr. Tweedly would be proud.

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Lorin said...

I will venture out on the limb and come to the defense of good grammar in songs.

Have you ever heard the country song "Waiting on a Woman"? Its a catchy little tune but every time I hear it I cringe, imagining the poor woman the man is sitting on while he waits. Can't he get his own chair?

Laura Toepfer said...

Oh, I am not above criticizing "7 items or less" signs in the grocery store. The point I was trying to make (and wasn't even clear on myself when I made it) is that grammar takes place in context. It seems stupid to me to correct "I can't get no satisfaction" when the song would sound bad any other way.

I had a wonderful high school English teacher who understood this well. I still remember her telling us that she didn't expect us to go home and announce, "It is I!" "It's me" may be wrong, but it's right for that situation.

That's the thing I can't stand about grammar purists, when they can't wrap their brains around the realization that grammar takes contextual rules as well.