National Grammar Day is just around the corner — it falls on Monday, March 4th (march forth, get it?). Among the festivities is the annual Grammar Haiku Contest, overseen by editor Mark Allen. In the contest, verbivores vie for glory by submitting grammar- or usage-based haikus on Twitter. This year, I've been asked to be a judge.
I'm honored to join the panel of esteemed judges, who include:
- Martha Barnette (@MarthaBarnette), host of the nationally syndicated public radio program "A Way with Words," public speaker and author of several books.
- Martha Brockenbrough (@mbrockenbrough), founder of National Grammar Day and the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, and author of "Things That Make Us (Sic)" and the young adult novel "Devine Intervention."
- Larry Kunz (@larry_kunz), technical writer in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, project manager and senior information developer for SDI Global Solutions, instructor at Duke University, and fellow with the Society for Technical Communication.
- Bill Walsh (@TheSlot), Washington Post copy editor and author of "Lapsing into a Comma," "The Elephants of Style," and the forthcoming, "Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk."
Larry Kunz was the winner of last year's contest. His winning entry was:
Being a dangler,
Jane knew it would have to come
out of the sentence
(You can see all of the runners-up here.)
Want to take part in this year's competition? Tweet your haiku by 10 p.m. EST Saturday, March 2nd, using the hashtag #GrammarDay. Mark Allen's announcement provides further details. Winners will be announced on the morning of National Grammar Day, Monday, March 4th. In the meantime, you can follow the action on Twitter or via the Storify that Mark has set up to track all submitted haikus.
Make your haiku sing
With the glory of grammar.
Update, Mar. 4: Congratulations to Arika Okrent, who won the contest with the following haiku:
I am an error
And I will reveal myself
After you press send
Check out the worthy runners-up on Mark Allen's blog.
Ben Zimmer is language columnist for The Wall Street Journal and former language columnist for The Boston Globe and The New York Times Magazine. He has worked as editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press and as a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary. In addition to his regular "Word Routes" column here, he contributes to the group weblog Language Log. He is also the chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.Click here to read other articles by Ben Zimmer