You’ve had your decorations up for weeks, and now the big day is finally here. That’s right, it’s National Grammar Day, and tonight spell checkers and proofreaders from coast to coast will be celebrating into the wee hours. In honor of this momentous day, we asked a few EPL regulars the following:
What is your biggest grammar pet peeve?
“In our house, we’re constantly hearing ‘me and so-and-so’ instead of ‘so-and-so and I.’ We’re always correcting each other.”
— Kathy Henke, a 13-year Evanston resident and mother of 3
“When someone uses mixed verb tenses in a sentence.”
— Marley Haller, an NU grad living in Evanston since 2003
“Prepositions at the end of a sentence! Also, saying ‘me and him went to…’ Eek! That’s like nails on a blackboard for me.”
— Sheila McGuire, an EPL volunteer and 15-year Evanston resident
If you’re making National Grammar Day resolutions, try the following books to help you reach your goals, but for now… let the festivities begin!
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty
This NY Times bestseller from the creator of the popular Grammar Girl podcast will help you wipe out bad grammar as painlessly as possible. Written with wit and warmth, the book offers memory tricks for overcoming common grammar mistakes that plague even the best writers.
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
From a 30-year vet of The New Yorker’s copy department, this bestseller features laugh-out-loud descriptions of common grammar mistakes while drawing on examples from Charles Dickens, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, Gillian Flynn, and many others. Said Garrison Keillor, “This is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it.”
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
This impassioned manifesto on punctuation was a bestseller in both the U.S. and the U.K. Described as a self-help book that “gives you permission to love punctuation,” this guide moves from sarcasm to bone-dry humor to outright indignation while speaking of the value of punctuation. Example: Truss recommends that anyone putting an apostrophe in a possessive “its”-as in “the dog chewed it’s bone”-should be struck by lightning and chopped to bits.