Monday, March 4, 2013

Did You Know?

Today is National Grammar Day

It is indeed, and it's brought to us by Grammar Girl, the site with writerly goodies galore. Grammar Girl says, "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!"

What's so great about grammar? Well, quirky rules and all, grammar enables us to communicate well. What kind of writers would we be without a few guidelines to keep us in line, you know?

Take prepositions, for instance. We know that prepositions illustrate relationships, like so: 

The box is under the table.

Now we know where the box is. Simple stuff, right?  But have you heard about double prepositions? They aren't needed often, but in the right place, they work, like so:   

  • She came out of the cave. 
  • The mouse emerged from under the dresser. 

Sometimes though, when two or more prepositions are used, they create unnecessary clutter. Consider the following:

  • Before: Wendy grabbed her books from off of the table.
  • After: Wendy grabbed her books from the table.   

  • Before: Linda looked over at Wayne.
  • After: Linda looked at Wayne. 

  • Before: Robin and Julie sat down under the canopy.
  • After: Robin and Julie sat under the canopy.
  • Before: Caroline stopped on over to see Harry at the photo booth.
  • After: Caroline stopped to see Harry at the photo booth.

For clean, sharp writing, don't use unnecessary prepositions

There you have it, the official tidbit for National Grammar Day from Write Now. :)

 Fourth Blogoversary Giveaway #1

It's hard to believe that it's been four years since I started blogging. It's been a great ride! Thanks to all of you for helping me on this journey. To celebrate, I am giving away several goodies this month.

The first item, in honor of National Grammar Day, is the Kindle edition of

The Elements of Style, Updated for Present Day Use  

by William Strunk and Stanford Pritchard.       

Don't have a Kindle or Tablet with an e-reader? No worries! The Kindle for PC feature allows you to download a free Kindle reading app for your computer and other mobile devices. Click here for details.


Giveaway Details

  • You must be a GFC follower and leave your email address with your comment. 
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please total your entries and include links with your comment.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST Friday, March 8, 2013. Winner will be chosen by, notified via email, and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, March 11, 2013.

Do you have any grammar pet peeves? What's your favorite grammar tip?

Happy writing,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. I tend to write the extra prepositions and then take them out when I edit. One of these days I'll learn to just skip them the first time!
    Congratulations on four years.
    alexjcavanaugh AT

  2. Oh dear, I think my brain sputtered trying to read those grammar tips. LOL I don't have any tips, I just go with what feels/looks right and hope it is. :-)

  3. Alex,
    I do that too. It's funny how we can know this stuff and still write it. But that's what editing is for, right? :) Got you on the list for the giveaway!

    Ha, my brain sputters too sometimes! I think people view us as knowing everything "right" about writing, just because we are writers. But we're learning too. :)

    Happy writing,

  4. Oh boy, I have a few grammar pet peeves--but I make plenty of grammar mistakes as well. Great post, as I can always use help trimming.

    Thanks, Karen! Happy Blogoversary!

    srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

  5. I think I'm usually pretty good with my grammar--at least she used to think so when she was alive. Okay, bad joke.

    But seriously, I can almost defend a couple of the examples you cite:

    "Looked over at" makes me see an action in progress of averting one's attention to another thing, whereas "looked at" seems to be more static such as a stare.

    Likewise, "sat down under" seems like it could contain an action such as people looking around for a place to sit and choosing to sit under the canopy as opposed to under the umbrella or inside the lounge. In this phrase they are in the act of having made a choice where to sit down and it happened to be under the canopy. If they "sat under the canopy" they could have been already sitting there for a while and the phrase does not connote overt action.

    I know, I know--as usual I'm reading too much into things and a lot would have to do with the context of the sentence. I'm just trying to be controversial I guess.

    Happy Grammar Day!

    Writers Workshop
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  6. Susie,
    Thank you! LOL, yes, I have my share of peeves too, and mistakes! :) Got you down on the list!

    Actually, you make good points here. I agree, it depends on the context, and may come down to editor preference as well. The instances I've run up against, in my students' and my own writing, are places that are safely trimmed. Thanks for chiming in!

    Happy writing,

  7. Great tips, Karen. :)

  8. That's an excellent book to give away.

  9. Linda,
    Thank you! :) Happy NGD!

    It's such a classic, isn't it? Don't know what I'd do without The Elements. :)

    Happy writing,

  10. National Grammar Day, FTW!

  11. These are good things to know! National Grammar Day and double prepositions. Thanks for the FYI.

  12. Melanie,
    Thank you! Hope you get to do a little pondering in the grammar department today. :)

    I agree, Grammar Day, for the win! :) Its been a busy day for Grammar Girl.

    You are welcome. Grammar Girl is helping keep us all in line. :)

    Happy writing,

  13. One of the best things a teacher did for me was insist I (and the rest of the class) memorize every preposition. That was in the 8th grade (a kajillion years ago) and I can still recite all 72 basic prepositions in alphabetical order. That memorization alone improved my grammar skills. I will be forever grateful to Ms. McInerny!

  14. I am like Alex--I write them in and then take them out, lol!

  15. I like that, "March forth..." Yes, ma'am. I shall!

    Very good stuff here, Karen. I'm sure these are things I miss sometimes, but your posts do stick in my head and make me look a little harder at the details. Thank you!

  16. Oh, dear, I missed National Grammar Day? Well, my writers' group met this morning and we had quite a discussion about grammar as we critiqued each other's work, so I guess we celebrated one day late :-) Great post, Karen. Always in need of a refresher course...

  17. When I finish a chapter, I always go back and cut the second preposition. Every single time. I think it's because I don't want to write like I talk. In fact, one of my English professors at SFU mentioned that very thing and congratulated me. Haha. In truth she was shocked that I didn't write like I talk because that's what she was expecting.

  18. Lisa,
    Sounds like a great teacher! Don't know if I could name them all. :)

    Yes, me too! Glad we can edit. :)

    I know, March forth does seem to fit. Glad to be of help! :)

    Well better late than never! :) Yes a refresher course is always a good thing!

    I think that's a good method to follow. Its a tricky balance, isn't it?

    Happy writing,

  19. Grammar. Some are blessed with it, others are not. *sniff*

    Excuse Me, Your Participle’s Dangling!, is a book I really wanna get. I need it.

    But I've always wanted The Elements of Style. I'm bad about using unnecessary words of all kinds. *sigh*

    Thanks amigo. For everything.

    Yay on four years. I heart you.



  20. I LOVE Grammar Girl! I have no tips because I'm ALWAYS going to that site. LOL

  21. I have a bunch of grammar pet peeves and I'm sure I accidentally commit a few grammar sins. Happy belated grammar day!

  22. Robyn,
    Yes, and we can all brush up on it when we need to as well, I'm thinking. I've learned more from teaching than I ever thought possible! Thanks for sharing the info, amigo! :)

    I know, it's a great site! :) A must-see resource!

    I do too. And I find myself committing them once in a while! lol

    Happy writing,

  23. Four years of blogging, wow! Congrats, Karen!

  24. Happy Blogsversary, blogging takes commitment and four years is an accomplishment. I'm peeved by people who don't edit their instant messages on whatever social network. Short messages should should not be exempt from good grammar.

  25. I love the little grammar tutorial. It's nice to clear up our writing by a few simple rules.

  26. National Grammar Day! The perfect day for editing a manuscript:)

  27. Lyn,
    Thank you! I've met so many great people, like you! :)

    Thanks so much! It does take commitment and work! :) The rewards are great too. :) I agree with you, even short messages can be written well.

    Glad you enjoyed it! I like grammar in short doses. )

    Yes, it is a great day for that! :) Wishing you much success!

    Happy writing,

  28. That's a great giveaway, Karen! I have a copy, so let someone else win.

    My largest grammar pet peeve is when people say, "I SEEN Karen" instead of "I saw Karen." I want to put a sign that says, "Teach me how to talk" around their necks! LOL!

  29. I can't say that I've ever heard of National Grammar Day, but I love the quote that goes with it, "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!"

    Happy 4 year blogoversary Karen! My email address: morgan(dot)maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com

  30. Jen,
    I know, that's one of mine too. Haven't heard it much lately though. Here's to walking in grammar grace, and learning too! lol :)

    I like that too! Something to remember, for sure. :) Added you to the list!


  31. Congratulations on your anniversary!! I'm so glad somewhere in those 4 years our paths crossed. I'm blessed each time I visit your blog and look forward to many more years of great tips and writerly wisdom.
    Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the celebrations,
    Dotti :)

    PS - lol at all the w words. ;-)

  32. Wow! That's a great offer.

  33. Dotti,
    Thank you! Yes, I am so glad our paths crossed! You are one sweet friend from down under. :)

    Good to see you! Hope all is well. :)


  34. Hi Karen!

    Great post! I edit out extra prepositions. And at times have to explain to authors why I'm cutting it out, so I'll bookmark this post for easier explanantion for next time!

    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Nas,
    Thank you! Glad you found it helpful!
    Happy writing,

  36. Oh no, I missed Grammar Day. I'm glad I didn't miss your post. :)

    I already have this handy book, so don't include me in the drawing.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!