By Joe Diorio
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – In honor of National Grammar Day (March 4, 2021) Nashville writer Joe Diorio, author of the book, A Few Words About Words: A common sense look at writing and grammar (due out in August 2021 from Beaufort Books) offers his top 10 grammatical tips.
- Overheard at a COVID-19 vaccine site: A nurse asked a patient, “Can you roll up your sleeve?” He probably can, but the more accurate usage would be, “Please roll up your sleeve.”
- When you talk about COVID-19, remember saying “pandemic” means worldwide. Saying “global pandemic” therefore is redundant.
- We experienced many emotions during the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, but no one was “balling” their eyes out. More accurately, they were “bawling” their eyes out.
- For TV news anchors, this summer when the temperature goes past 100, remember it is not “a hundred degrees” outside. Saying “a hundred” is an expression of volume. It therefore is “one hundred degrees” outside.
- No matter what, “irregardless” is a word. It has been since 1795. It means the same thing as “regardless,” so please just use “regardless.”
- “Uncharted” does not mean the same thing as “unchartered.” Remember, “unchartered” would refer to the part of that famous three-hour tour where the SS Minnow wound up on a heretofore “uncharted” island.
- When referring to the NFL team in Washington, D.C., it isn’t necessary to call them, “the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins.” Think about it, does anyone in Nashville refer to the local NFL team as “the team formerly known as the Houston Oilers?”
- Do not use an apostrophe when pluralizing your name. Never.
- Using a double asterisk to designate something important in a text is acceptable, and not just because we are all texting these days. The Chicago Manual of Style notes it is acceptable to use when highlighting something important.
- “Affect” is a verb, “effect” is a noun. Except when they aren’t. Look this one up.
Joe is the author of A Few Words About Words, the free monthly newsletter about good writing.
One thought on “Tips for National Grammar Day”
I certainly hope no one was “balling” their eyes out on Jan. 20, but I can’t vouch for where the Republicans kept their melon ballers. You’re right, bawling was more likely (regardless, ahem, of the political hue of the person crying).