March forth, grammatically

As I am, you are probably beside yourself with excitement about tomorrow. Not only is the date, March 4th, the only day in the year that is also a command (shout the date and raise your arm in preparation to lead a small parade), but it’s also National Grammar Day. Celebrate wildly, but without dangling any modifiers.

Grammar is the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves. The more we are aware of how it works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language. It can help foster precision, detect ambiguity, and exploit the richness of expression available in English. And it can help everyone–not only teachers of English, but teachers of anything, for all teaching is ultimately a matter of getting to grips with meaning.(David Crystal, “In Word and Deed,” TES Teacher, April 30, 2004)

It is necessary to know grammar, and it is better to write grammatically than not, but it is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated. Usage is the only test.(William Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, 1938)


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