National Grammar Day was first celebrated in 2008 by founder Martha Brockenbrough to promote awareness and understanding of proper grammar. The day’s motto is: “It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”
The way we speak and write can affect the way others view us, and everyone would prefer to present a positive image. Language is everywhere in our lives, providing many opportunities to make grammar errors.
Many people believe that grammar is just a set of rules for language. But in truth, grammar helps us communicate more precisely and ensures we say exactly what we mean to say.
Take the classic misplaced comma in the following cartoon:
Commas, whether by omission (as in our cartoon) or their presence, can change the meaning of a sentence. If a comma was inserted before the word “children,” grandma would be calling them to eat dinner rather than chasing them down for her own dining experience!
Common grammar mistakes include not only comma errors, but apostrophe errors, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and misplaced modifiers. There are some very basic grammar rules: a singular subject needs a singular predicate (verb). A sentence needs to express a complete thought. Another term for a sentence is an independent clause. Clauses, like any sentence, have a subject and predicate too. If a group of words does not have a subject and predicate, it is a phrase.
Grammar is a vital part of communication, as the inclusion or exclusion of certain grammatical elements can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Good use of grammar and language ensures your intended meaning comes across.