Thursday, March 7, 2013
How About Some Nutella with that Grammar?
This past Monday was National Grammar Day, a day which calls us to march forth on March 4th to celebrate punctuation, grammar, word choice and style. It's a day which highlights important issues (lie vs. lay, who vs. whom, i.e. vs. e.g., affect vs. effect) and showcases how a misplaced comma can be deadly.
Huh. I totally celebrated World Nutella Day in style (Feb. 5, in case you're wondering), but somehow I missed National Grammar Day.
You can see where my priorities are.
People assume because I am an English major and work as a writer that I have the answer to any and all grammatical dilemmas, but I don't (just ask my editor). I can hear the protests even as I type this -- But you are an English major! You are a writer! -- and, yes, both are true. But while my degree and my profession indicate that I am knowledgeable in the grammatical arena, by no means am I an expert.
Let me put it this way: there are English majors ... and there are English majors.
On one side are English majors who are grammarians. They are scholars on mechanics, semantics, and linguistics. They can diagram a sentence into tomorrow, get offended at comma splices, and hold a dangling participle over your head. They make great editors.
Then there are English majors who are literarians. They quote Chaucer, discuss Faulkner's writing style, and lose themselves in a bookstore. They attend poetry readings at the downtown cafe`, keep a journal, and fall in love with their Shakespeare professor.
You can probably guess which type I am; however, just to be clear please know I can diagram a sentence, I make sure my subjects and verbs agree, and I don't leave any participles dangling. I do think grammar is important. Really.
It's just that I'll take a Nutella sandwich over a split infinitive any day of the week.