A wellspring of wit, a corn-ucopia of groaners, frivolity in five lines.
There once was a Ragan promotion:
“Express your linguistic devotion
To mark Grammar Day.”
And the floodgates gave way
As the entries rushed in like the ocean.
— Norm de Plume
What an abundance of cleverness. More than 100 entries came in, some with multiple stanzas.
Grammar Day was supposed to be a glorious, festive holiday — and you made us work way too hard. It was like hosting a huge party; we were glad to do it, but it was far more labor intensive than we’d figured on. Honestly, we had a blast.
A note of thanks to Mignon (Grammar Girl) Fogarty, who offered a copy of one of her wonderful books as a prize in case we wanted to hold a Grammar Day contest. That got our wheels turning, and the contest was born.
Quite a few of you realized that comma rhymes with drama (and mama, llama, even Obama) and that grammar rhymes with hammer and slammer. Some other “rhymes” were real puzzlers.
To select the ultimate winner, we had to get strict about limerick structure — cadence, rhymes, etc. — and about grammar and punctuation, of course.
Three hours after the deadline (which we also enforced strictly), we still had more than a dozen “finalists.”
Imagine standing at a fabulous buffet and being told, “Pick one.”
So, we did what we had to do, along with designating some Extraordinary Mentions. (“Honorable” doesn’t do them justice.) And we allowed a bit more latitude in the name of cleverness.
So here’s our Top Selection:
My ex-boyfriend’s, grammar, was minimal,
His, intelligence sharp, but, subliminal.
But, finally after, cracking,
I sent, him packing,
Because his, use of, commas, was criminal.
Our Extraordinary Mentions are:
Young Hannibal, growing up in a shanty,
Showed no interest in people al dente
But he was set off by his momma
When she left out the comma
In the sentence: “Let’s go eat, Auntie.”
I saw that my participle was dangling
My sentence thereby it was mangling
I tried not to pout
though it put into doubt
the perfection for which I was angling.
There once was a teacher of grammar
Who’s now spending life in the slammer.
When students would err,
She’d shriek and she’d swear,
And drive home her point with a hammer.
A good editor works to redact
Excess words that are sure to distract
From your reader’s enjoying
The words you’re employing
So be sure to write well or get sacked
I find I am oft’ driven nuts,
By grammarians stuck in their ruts,
But try as I might,
Both morning and night,
They don’t know their “ifs” from their “buts.”
Christy Lynn Wilson
Here is a general rule
You may not have studied in school:
“And/or” means “or”;
There’s no need for more.
So please do without the virgule.
There was a fine boy who I dated
Though I dumped him as soon as he stated
“You make me feel nauseous.”
I said, “Be more cautious!
And properly say ‘nauseated'”
The editor groaned before he accosted me:
“Your story,” he fumed, “is a bleeding atrocity.
The facts are all sound,
and the topic, well found,
but in the penultimate graph, you dropped an apostrophe.”
There are too many terrific offerings to fit in this article. You can view all the entries here, listed in no significant order, Again, to everyone who entered, thanks for a day filled with smiles, chuckles, belly laughs and head shakes.