On this National Grammar Day, one may wonder: is caring about grammar on the way out? Is it a fusty old vestigial instinct drilled into the heads of Baby Boomers by knuckle-rapping nuns, soon to perish from the earth under an onslaught of Millennials and their emojis?
Don't ring grammar's death knell yet. Maybe it's that the most-wired generation has more access to written material than any of their predecessors; maybe it's that tools like spellcheck and autocorrect have proven to be more instructive than laziness-inducing; maybe it's that, rather than Internet-and-text-speak becoming the language of young people, it's become a second language, one which they are adept at switching into and out of as easily as any bilingual child; in any case, Millennials value grammar. In a poll from Dictionary.com, they, more than any other age group, proved to be annoyed by mistakes.
It's not just academic. For one thing, young people with poor writing skills may have less success in a dating paradigm where text-based apps are ascendant, according to a survey from Zoosk. Now that's a powerful form of peer pressure.
So, given that the might of orthodoxy isn't going away, how should you observe National Grammar Day? Its founder, Martha Brockenbrough, has emphasized that this is a celebration of language, so keep it positive and do some learning. Some recommended resources:
- The Grammarly blog
- The PR News Writer's Guidebook
- Grammar Girl's "Quick and Dirty Tips"
- The "journalist's bible": The Associated Press Stylebook
- #GrammarDay on Twitter. Harry Connick, Jr. is kicking off the fun:
Its grammer day! I hope your enjoying it! Me and my friends are gonna celebrate! #GrammarDay
— Harry Connick, Jr. (@HarryConnickJR) March 4, 2016
Follow Ian on Twitter: @ianwright0101