March 4 is National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day

March 4 is National Grammar Day in the United States. Established in 2008, it is a yearly celebration of the nuts and bolts of the English language.

In honor of National Grammar Day, author and podcast host Mignon Fogarty has a piece on the Top Ten Language Myths.

Who is Mignon Fogarty? Form her website:

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and the “Today Show” and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today,, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase “grammar nazi” and loves the word “kerfuffle.” She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.

You can read a short piece on her Top Ten Language Myths at her blog, Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips, or you can listen to her podcasts on them for more details. I will post a link to a playlist of them below, but first, I will give you Grammar Girl’s Top Ten Language Myths, in reverse order:

  • A run-on sentence is a really long sentence
  • You shouldn’t start a sentence with the word ‘however’
  • ‘Irregardless’ is not a word
  • There is only one way to write the possessive form of a word that ends in S
  • Passive voice is always wrong
  • ‘I.e.’ and ‘e.g’ mean the same thing
  • You use ‘a’ before words that start with a consonant and ‘an’ before words that start with a vowel
  • It’s incorrect to answer the question “How are you?” with “I’m good.”
  • You shouldn’t split infinitives
  • You shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition

Be sure to read Mignon Fogarty’s explanations for these, or even better, listen to her podcast episodes for more details. You can listen to the Grammar Girl episodes for each of these top ten at the playlist that Mignon Fogarty has posted exclusively to Spotify. You can also find each of the episodes wherever you might already listen to podcasts, such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Podbean.

Come on back and post your thoughts on these language myths in the comments.


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2 thoughts on “March 4 is National Grammar Day

  1. I have a gripe about grammar style, as in why is there more than one? Why can you write in one way, according to Fogarty’s list, if you use the Chicago style, and in another if you use AP style? There are no red states, there are no blue states, there are (is?) only the United States, so why do we have two ways to write American English? Shouldn’t we all be on the same page? (That last sentence is a writer’s sentence, don’t you think?)
    I’m talking specifically of that evil, tongue-twisting, thought interrupting, possessive apostrophe s. Not the easy one that attaches fluently to a name—Joe’s car—but the one nobody wants to claim, identifying the car belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Ulysses. Do we write the Ulysses’ car, or the Ulysses’s car, or since there are two Ulysses who own the car, is it the Ulysseses’ car, or perhaps the Ulysseses’s car. Not sure? Pick a style. Make sure you follow the same style throughout however, because I’ve been told bad things will happen if you mix them.

    • To answer the first part of your post, Dave, there are different styles because there are different needs for writers. Chicago Manual of Style developed, I believe, for nonfiction writing. The style needed to be precise and somewhat formal. AP originated with the Associated Press, and the newspaper style they needed didn’t have to be as formal as Chicago style. When I was in school, and for a long time after, I wrote in MLA style, which stands for Modern Language Association, because most of my writing was geared towards the English classes I was taking, and the style needed to be geared towards that audience.

      And to add to the Babel, organizations and publishing houses can each have their own ‘in-house’ style. Each one of those tailor their style toward toward the expectations of their audience.

      To be honest, I kinda like it that way. One of the strengths of English, IMHO, is its flexibility.

      Your bottom line at the end of your comment is pretty close. Find a style that you are comfortable with and be consistent. Of course, you might have to change that up depending upon the requirements of wherever you might be submitting work. Then you have to follow their preferred style.

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