Booking Through Thursday: Grammar

In honor of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

I admit it upfront. The main — if not the only — reason I’m posting on this topic is so I can use the closing quote. And even then it doesn’t really have anything to do with grammar, just style books.

I don’t have any grammar books to my knowledge, although I have been known to check online resources once in a while. I do, though, have several writing and style books. There is, of course, the king — The Elements of Style — which I re-read too infrequently. I have two or three others, mostly picked up while I was pursuing a journalism career.

I also hang on to some outdated editions of both the AP Stylebook and the UPI Stylebook. And when I say outdated, that means both of them are more than 25 years old. I keep them around, though, because I’m familiar enough with the format that they’re an easy reference for resolving usage issues.

That said, this post’s ending quote is my nominee for the greatest stylebook entry in history. It comes from the UPI Stylebook I used while working for it in 1980. Sadly, I see the last sentence is not in the current edition available through Amazon. Why not use humor in teaching style, especially when it makes the point so well?

burro, burrow A burro is an ass. A burrow is a hole in the ground. As a journalist you are expected to know the difference.

UPI Stylebook and Bureau Manual (circa 1978)

2 comments to Booking Through Thursday: Grammar

  • Hilarious!

    Grammar matters. It contributes to clarity and eloquence.

    In the practical world, I remind students regularly that employers reserve the right to throw out a job application on the basis of one grammatical error. Sometimes a student will respond that most employers probably don’t know enough grammar to notice such picky points. I ask my students if they’re willing to gamble their chance at a $75K/year job on their hope that the person reading the apps doesn’t happen to be a grammarian.

  • LOL, I even knew that. 🙂 But, I don’t fret too much on grammar. Here’s mine.