Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happy National Grammar Day!

Did you know March 4 is National Grammar Day? Now you do! In honor of this holiday, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite grammar tips and biggest peeves (and hopefully not make too many grammatical mistakes while doing so). First, in the image above, it should be "were" because a wish creates the subjunctive mood. Sigh. Also, I think it should be "I" at the end, as in "like I am."

The correct phrase is you're welcome, not your welcome. I think you want to say, "You are welcome," unless you're telling someone his or her welcome was not friendly enough. Then it's perfectly acceptable to say, "Your welcome sucked." (Acceptable meaning in grammatical terms, of course, not in terms of general decorum.) 

There is one pair of homophones that I always have to think about before I spell either of them: stationary and stationery. I've developed a very easy way to remember the difference. (Well, I'm sure I didn't actually invent this memory aid, but I arrived at it on my own!) Stationery goes in an envelope (or is an envelope). Voila!

Finally, I wanted to share something from my magazine editing class last year that absolutely blew me away. When you feel like you want to throw up, what do you say? "I feel nauseous," right? Wrong! You should say, "I feel nauseated." That seems totally incorrect, right? But there is a very simple explanation for it. Look at the words "poisoned" and "poisonous." If you are bitten by a snake, are you poisoned or poisonous? (I hope you're not the latter!) Nauseated and nauseous work the same way, so you feel nauseated after you look at a nauseous meal. I know, I know. Take a minute to think that one over.... (Or, look at's entry for nauseous and be completely confused. Either my professor was wrong, or this is another example of a dictionary adapting to common usage rather than correct definitions.)

I could write about grammar all day (my editing T.A. once called me a "grammar robot"), but I'll just leave it at these four items for now. Plus, I feel like I've misused a comma somewhere, and I'm sure I wrote fragments because this is a blog and not a formal paper, and the thought of both is really bugging me. I need to quit before I get too frustrated and scrap this whole post.... 

P.S. - Grammar Girl celebrated National Grammar Day 2010 with a great list of the Top 10 Grammar Myths. Check it out; she's a much better resource than I! :)

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