Tag Archives: ACES

Lift a glass for Grammar Day

Grammar Day - Twitter hashtagStarted in 2008 by author Martha Brockenbrough, National Grammar Day is a time to celebrate, and foster an appreciation for, clear writing. It’s observed every year on March fourth — the date that, when pronounced, forms a complete sentence.

A few years ago, Mark Allen — of ACES: The Society for Editing — started a Grammar Day haiku contest on Twitter. This year, tired (I guess) of counting syllables, Mark switched the format to limericks.

The judges must’ve liked my limericks. This one took first place:

“Faulty parallelism, you see,
I eschew most assiduously.”
Thus said Constable Brown
As he sat himself down
And ate limburger, ham, and sipped tea.

And this one tied for second:

Old Frumpengruff’s might’ly perturbed
When he hears that a noun has been verbed.
Though it’s gone on for ages,
Still he (18th c.) fusses and (14th) rages —
In high dudgeon that cannot be (16th) curbed.

I’m delighted and honored, of course. But really, it’s all about celebrating clear writing. Take time to read all of the winning limericks — and take time every day to celebrate our language and deploy it in the name of clear communication.


Opening the door to singular they

Have you heard? The Associated Press Stylebook is “opening the door” to singular they. The new entry reads:

They, them, their In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them.They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze.

(quoted by Gerri Berendzen on the American Copy Editors Society website)

You might be thinking Why are people still talking about this? Hasn’t singular they established itself in the language?

I’d say that it has. I salute AP’ for recognizing that. Even so, they give the appearance of being dragged into it, kicking and screaming and holding their collective nose. Continue reading