So, I just found out that March 4 was National Grammar Day. Yes, I didn’t make that up. In 2008, Martha Brokenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), established the day to celebrate the one thing that kids hate and writers adore — good grammar.
Let’s celebrate the joys of grammar by reflect on how it’s changed. I pulled the 11 terms from Merriam-Webster online that are no longer deemed “Bad Grammer.” But, do we agree? Let me know what you think.
Both the adjective in “the above explanation” and the noun in “the above is an explanation” annoyed plenty of folks in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The “to rouse to displeasure or anger by usually persistent and often petty goading” meaning aggravated critics from the late 1800s through much of the 20th century—despite the fact that the meaning dates to the early 1600s.
It was new in 1938 and disliked until it proved too useful.
The verb, as in “crafting a poem,” wasn’t common until the late 20th century, when people spurned it as an upstart. But it actually dates to the 15th century.
The verb in our above (ahem) sentence “National Grammar Day debuted in 2008” was frowned upon throughout the 20th century, and a transitive version like “Martha Brockenbrough debuted National Grammar Day in 2008” was considered even worse.
It was common in Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s, but an object of derision in the U.S. for a long time.
This word as used to mean “mode or way of thought” or “outlook” bothered some folks of a stodgy mentality in the early 20th century.
- Out loud
For much of the 20th century, you’d be criticized for reporting that something was said “out loud” rather than “aloud.”
Using this to mean “to happen” a hundred years ago was a big no-no.
The word was new in the 1940s and condemned by some as “journalese.”
It was described as “absolutely vulgar” (along with ain’t) in an 1846 address to high school students—criticism that was piled onto more than a century of previous objections.