Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy ? Day

So here's a timely topic... Mother's, Mothers' or Mothers Day?

I'll be upfront: my belief is that any and all are correct. Yes, you heard me; the pedant is allowing free rein. But there's a catch. You must understand the option you choose, it must represent what you believe the day is about. Otherwise you're just shooting off an apostrophe gun with no licence. The thing is, at this point I'm not actually sure what I believe. Shall I use my own blog to reach this understanding? Why thank you, I believe I shall.

I find it's easier to understand what we're dealing with here by replacing "mother" with a word that completely changes structure when it becomes a plural. I'm sure there's a technical name for that, and I'm sure I don't know what it is. In any case, let's try replacing "mother" with "child", and we'll just see how I feel about things at the end of this thought process.

To say "Mother's Day" is equivalent to "Child's Day"... a day that belongs to one mother, one presumes (although of course there will be exceptions) one's own mother. If you call your mother by another name, it might be "Mum's Day", "Mummy's Day", or "Mama's Day".
"Mothers' Day" equates to "Children's Day"... a day that belongs to all people who are mothers. Easy.
"Mothers Day"... now there's a doozy. An instant candidate for authoritative slashes of red pen according to many... but I'm not actually so sure. "Mothers Day" equates to "Children Day". Not so dumb after all. The day doesn't have to belong to the mother or mothers, what if it simply celebrates them? Christmas Day, Labour Day, Anzac Day, Children Day, Mothers Day. It does actually work.

Hence, I believe that any of these can be considered correct, it simply depends on which chord you wish to strike. Personally I believe most people refer to the day as a day that belongs to all mothers, and for that reason I'm going to settle with "Mothers' Day".

I'm going to give you all a long piece of rope here. Mind you're careful with it.

(And whichever option you prefer, I wish a fabulous day to all the mums out there, in all the wonderful forms they take.)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The First Post

First things first: the title. I have to be honest, if I'm to pick my favourite area of pedantry it has to be punctuation, more specifically the apostrophe. If spelling and grammar are close to my heart, apostrophes are what keep it pumping. However it just didn't have the same ring to it, and I'm not above a bit of vanity.

Secondly: about me. I don't claim to be any kind of expert in this area. I've written quite a bit, through study, work and pleasure, but I've never studied grammar in any official capacity nor do I claim to understand everything. To be honest, my biggest bugbears are those errors I've found myself making at some point; the horror of realising my own mistake is often what motivates me to never, ever make it again.

Thirdly: about this blog. I'm not yet entirely sure what purpose I hope it will serve. It is not intended as an instructional guide. Grammar Girl and her like have that covered, and they do it so much better than I ever could. I suppose what it comes down to is this: I notice mistakes everywhere. When I'm flicking through a magazine, while I'm window shopping, driving my car, ordering off a menu, or (gasp) reading my children's school newsletter, I am scanning everything with an editorial eye. (Yes, Harry Potter and Twilight were torture.) I made a half-hearted Facebook page dedicated to those mistakes I was lucky (and brave) enough to photograph. But the truth is I'd like to blog... I see other people doing it and it looks like fun. And I have a lot to say about this particular topic.

It might be a strange passion, but it's mine. Moreover, judging by the number of Internet memes dedicated to all things grammar, spelling and punctuation, it's safe to say I'm not alone.