This past Sunday was National Grammar Day and we didn’t want it to pass completely unnoticed. If you threw a party to celebrate this day, you will probably find my blog a disappointment. As I am writing this blog I am extremely aware (even more than usual) that I do not want to make any grammar mistakes. (Part of me wanted to intentionally place errors in this blog and see if people could spot them. Yawn). My nervousness comes from the fact that although I am fairly intelligent, well-read and a decent writer, I still make grammatical errors at times.
I think three of the biggest causes of poor grammar are carelessness, lack of awareness and cultural habits. These habits have been greatly influenced by technology and social media, leading to a deterioration of proper language usage. We respond to emails and texts quickly because we are multi-tasking like crazy. So we shoot off emails without proofing them and we have developed abbreviated language for texting.
I would not define myself as a grammar snob, but in some settings, especially professional ones, we need to develop a little more awareness of proper grammar. I need reminders and often use grammar reference sites on the internet when I have a quick question. But if you are looking for a fun and fairly quick brush-up on your skills, I recommend reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves or Things That Make Us [sic].
Under the banner “Sticklers, unite!” Lynne Truss launched her best-selling book Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Her “Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” was written with grammar sticklers in mind, but this cheeky guide is helpful to snobs and the grammatically challenged alike.
In Things That Make Us [Sic], Martha Brockenbrough gives us a snarky, irreverent guide packed with common grammar gaffes and tips for avoiding them. Her inclusion of letters to some infamous language offenders, including George W. Bush, David Hasselhoff and the Queen of England made me giggle.
Both of these books offer a humorous and entertaining approach to grammar. I don’t know about you, but when I was in school grammar was definitely not a fun subject. So I found it a relief to actually enjoy reading these books and learning how to improve my grammar and punctuation.