Try and Get This Right So We Can Try to Learn Something!

23459583_sA quick topic for today. The phrase “try and” is colloquial, meaning it is used more in informal conversation and is not used in formal writing. The correct term should be try to.

  • “Let’s try and get this car started” is OK if you’re talking to your buddy.
  • “Let’s try to get this report filed” is better if you are using business email or talking to someone at work.

Grammar Girl explained it well when she said if you use “try and” in a sentence like “I want to try and call Grammar Girl,” you are really doing two things–trying and calling. If you use “try to” in that same sentence–“I want to try to call Grammar Girl,”–you are using the preposition “to” to link the trying to the calling. (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/a-few-short-questions)

This is really a simple thing that isn’t a “make it or break it” kind of thing, but is still important.

Do you have questions about whether or not something is correct or do you have examples of things you see over and over that you don’t think are right? Forward them on to me (proofthatblog@gmail.com) and I’ll address them here.

Grammar Giggles – Merry Chirstmas!

Now that the stress of the holidays is nearly over, I can get back on track. My sister sent me this card she received in the mail. Not only did the printer not catch the error, but I assume someone paid money for these cards and sent them out to their friends and family so who knows how many of them are in circulation. All I can say is “Wow!”

Christmas card

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thinking about Thanksgiving here in the United States got me thinking about names of holidays and grammar rules. For instance, if you use Eve or Day with the name of a holiday, i.e., Thanksgiving Day, you capitalize day. However, if you were to say “the day before Thanksgiving,” day would not be capitalized. Religious holidays are also capitalized

  • Good Friday
  • Hanukkah

Even some “invented” holidays are capitalized

  • Black Friday
  • Pi Day

Is happy capitalized when used with a holiday? If you exclaim “Happy Thanksgiving!” then it is, but if you use it in a regular sentence “I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving,” then it is not.

Generally, the seasons of the year are not capitalized unless it is part of a proper name.

  • This winter seems to be colder than normal.
  • The Phoenix College Spring Semester 2014 will begin in January.
  • HOWEVER: The fall semester is nearly over.

When using seasons to describe time of year, remember that seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When it is summer in the U.S., it is winter in most of South America and Australia. In that case, it is clearer to say “the first three months of the year,” or “the last quarter of 2014.”

As for possessives with the word “season,” the phrase Season’s greetings! is possessive because you are referring to holidays that happen only during one season—winter. Possessives with names of holidays are usually singular; however, where the holiday is plural, the apostrophe is after the plural word:

  • Presidents’ Day (celebrating more than one president)
  • April Fools’ Day (more than one fool)
  • Mother’s Day (each family celebrating its mother and it is the official name of the holiday)
  • Father’s Day (same)
  • HOWEVER: Veterans Day (official name of the holiday)

The official holiday name wins out over plurals and possessives, so you may just have to look it up to be positive you are correct.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving and know that when I count my blessings, the people who read my blog faithfully, those who stumble across it, and those who cheer me on are near the top of my list. Thank you!

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Grammar Giggles – Right Turn, Left Turn

I got this one from Twitter. Traffic signs that are confusing are the worst. People depend on traffic signs to help them navigate from Point A to Point B, and when they aren’t completely clear or are completely incomprehensible–like this one–it just adds stress to an already difficult activity.

Right lane