Blogging Insights — Reformed Grammar Nazi

Dr. Tanya has decided to change things up a bit for her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. Instead of using the Q&A format, she provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and ask us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week, quoting author Ruth Rendell, Tanya wants to know if we are grammar Nazis.

“What I mind in modern society very much is the awful lack of grammar.”

When I was in elementary (aka grammar) school, I spent a lot of time diagramming sentences. Grammar rules, proper punctuation, and correct use were emphasized. As a result, I grew up with much the same attitude that Ruth Rendell expressed. It drove me nuts to encounter grammar, punctuation, and usage errors. I used to get really annoyed and would actually stop reading anything that displayed poor grammar. I thought that there was simply no excuse for such errors, especially when I found them in published works where, presumably, an editor, or at least a proof reader, was involved before publication.

I will admit that I have mellowed quite a bit vis-à-vis poor grammar. While it still bothers me when I come across blatant grammar, punctuation, or usage errors, I try, like the proverbial duck, to let them roll off my back.

That said, if a blogger’s posts are regularly filled with grammatical errors, incorrect punctuation, or inappropriate usage, I will likely stop reading his or her posts. Especially if he or she uses an apostrophe to make a word plural.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 3rd

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 3, 2017.

Speak American

IMG_2591

I love this photo on so many levels.

First, being the grammar and language pedant that I am, there’s the misuse of the word “your.” I don’t need to tell you that it should read “You’re in America.”

And, of course, there should be some punctuation between the first line and the second. A period, a colon, a semicolon. At the very least, a comma.

But it’s the irony of the message that is priceless. Telling someone to speak English because he or she happens to be in America and, while doing so, displaying a complete lack of mastery of the English language. How exquisite is that?

Gee, I wonder if whoever put that decal on the car window is able to speak the native tongue of any non-English speaking country he may visit.

“You’re in Mexico, gringo. Speak Mexican!”

“You’re in Canada, sir. Please speak Canadian, eh?”

Nah. That Yankees fan probably has never even been outside of the five boroughs of New York City. Well, maybe he’s been to New Jersey.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “priceless.”

Weekend Writing Prompt — I Wanna Be a Writer

“You call yourself a wordsmith? That’s absurd. If anything, you’re the antithesis of a wordsmith. You may strive to be one, but you can’t spell, you’re lousy at grammar, and you can’t put a coherent sentence together. You’re a basket case.”

“I want to be a writer like you, Grandfather. You must have patience with me. I’m only seven years old.”

(61 words)


Written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where the word is “absurd” using exactly 61 words.Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wordsmith/antithesis), Your Daily Word prompt (strive), MMA Storytime (basket), The Daily Spur (grandfather), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (patience). Photo credit: Getty Images.

Historic Article

C3D5CE8D-F3A6-429B-B8A1-EBC128F1BEA8I saw an article that popped up on my iPhone’s news feed this morning. It was about the U.S. and the Taliban having signed a peace agreement and it contained a sentence that read:

After a week-long “reduction in violence,” the US and Taliban have signed a historic agreement Saturday, which would set into motion the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan and potentially pave the way to ending America’s longest-fought war.

My post, by the way, has nothing to do with that “historic agreement.” It does have to do, as the image at the top hints, with historic articles, though.

When I read that sentence, I was struck by the phrase “a historic.” Way back in my school days I was taught that the article “an” should be used before the letter “h.” After all, you wouldn’t say “I’ll meet you in a hour.” You’d say “…an hour.” Likewise, “It would be an honor,” not “a honor.” Right?

So the sentence in the article, based upon what I had learned, should have read “…have signed an historic agreement….”

Now I’m second guessing myself. Was I taught the wrong thing? Am I misremembering? Did I dream the whole thing up?

So, of course, I Googled it. Most of the sites I found said that “a historic” is correct. As one site explained:

The article “an” is correct before historic if the word is pronounced “istoric.” “A” is the correct article if the word is pronounced “historic,” beginning with an h sound. In print, at least in the United States, where the word is normally pronounced with an h, the correct written form is “a historic.”

Another site put it simply:

Here’s the basic rule: If the word begins with a consonant sound, the correct article is “a.” If the word begins with a vowel sound, the correct article is “an.”

So was I taught the wrong grammatical rule in my formative years, or did I just misunderstand how to apply the rule? In any event, “a historic” sounds awkward to me, while “an historic” sounds right.

What about you? Do you use an “a” or an “an” before the word “historic”?

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 2

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. I’ve had this blog for two years, so I have only 2017 and 2018 to draw from.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 26th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

It would be great if everyone who reads this post would scroll down to the comments and check out the posts that others provide links to.


I originally published this short post on August 2, 2014 in a now defunct blog.

Proper Placement

B7BE1C0B-5BFB-4092-A7D9-6FA218992BF6My daughter, knowing how fussy — or, as I like to say, fastidious — I am about grammar, punctuation, language, and usage, sent me an email in which she wrote, “I thought you’d get a kick out of this sentence someone posted on his blog.”

I did get a kick out of it. In fact, it made me laugh so hard when I read it that I thought I’d share it with all of you.

“I did read the post about your mom, and your tattoo. I, coincidentally, have a tattoo about my father who passed away on my wrist.”

And to think there are those who believe that the proper placement of commas is unimportant.