Grammar haiku

It’s National Grammar Day in the USA, and to celebrate, Mark Allen has been running a grammar haiku contest. As he opened it up to entries from across the world, I had a few goes:

Pedants must be told
What they can go and stick their
Prepositions up

We’ll not be so well
Without the apostrophe
He’ll save us from hell

Dangling oddly
I conjured absurdities
With modifiers

People shouldn’t say
‘I could care less’ when they mean
‘I could care fewer’

(Many thanks to the several people on Twitter who replied to that last one to tell me that it ought to be ‘couldn’t’. Your sneaky mischief-making/earnest desire to help is much appreciated.)

I didn’t win, although a couple did get honourable mentions. The winners, you see, were really very good indeed. Well done to all and thanks to Mark and the judges.

(I also do limericks. And no, they don’t win competitions either. But I do it out of love, albeit mostly the love of winning free stuff.)

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  • Richard  On March 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Congratulations Tom.

    Surely two honourable mentions should make a win.

    I liked both your contributions, though I have to say I share in the confusion over the could/couldn’t question. I’m clear on the less/fewer joke. Is what I’m missing the fact that ‘I could care less’ is a common mistake? If so, it’s fortunately one that I haven’t seen/heard.

    On another subject, all the recent depositions of heads of state in the Middle East have made me realise that I don’t like the word ‘ouster’. May I use ‘ousting’?


    The Self-Improving Journalist

  • Mark Allen  On March 7, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I think two honorable mentions do constitute a win, with the prize of That Much More Glory. I believe the only other multiple honoree is John E. McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun (but my memory could be poor on that point).

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