Author Topic: S.P.O.G.G.  (Read 857 times)

Offline Sin

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« on: July 03, 2007, 09:51:19 AM »
Hey all,

Sorry if this isn't in the right place, but I thought it might fit here since this section is about grammar. S.P.O.G.G. - Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar - is something I came across via Microsoft Encarta on MSN's website. In fact, the thread I'd started on correcting people on the proper use of grammar came from S.P.O.G.G. Anyway, I received an email this morning regarding a book they are putting together. This is what the email says:

Help us write our book! 
Hello, members of SPOGG!

A lot has happened since we last sent out a newsletter. We’ve made it into Stanford Alumni Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. What’s more:

SPOGG has a book contract!

Next May, St. Martin’s Press will release “Things That Make Us [Sic],” which has grammar tips, funny essays, blog highlights, and not-yet-published stern letters to everyone from George W. Bush to Queen Elizabeth II.

We’ll send more about the book when the time comes, but for now, we’d love your help. We’re about to work on the SPOGG in the Office chapter.

We’re looking for:
1) Grammar errors you hate to hear on the job.
2) The most jarring jargon you encounter.
3) Anything else that has to do with grammar and your livelihood.

This is your big chance – vent about those pet peeves that drive you right up the wall of your cubicle. Send your ideas to

Tip of the week:
When should you use “the,” and when should you use “an”?

“The” is a definite article, used to identify a particular object or person. “A” is indefinite, to be used when any old chair or nationality will do. (Its cousin “an” is the alternative when the article comes before words that start with a vowel, or are pronounced as though they do, like herb and honor.)

While this sounds pretty darned clear-cut, things can get more subtle. In his book “When You Catch and Adjective, Kill It,” the writer Ben Yagoda uses a charming anecdote explaining how (as well as the effect, even belated, of a good editor). Harold Ross, a mid-century editor of The New Yorker, was apparently very picky about the difference between “the” and “a.”

When Nabokov submitted a piece describing “the nutcracker” that was passed around, Ross wanted to know if the house contained only one. If so, “the” was the appropriate choice. Apparently Nabokov didn’t agree to the change when the piece ran in the magazine. But when he published his anthology Speak, Memory, he used “a.” It seems, then, that the Nabokovs were a multi-nutcracker clan.

This made us laugh
Story headline: Weather in Florida can play tricks on your mind

In June, 2001, the weather must have really been having fun with President Bush, who said, "I'm so thankful, and so gracious — I'm gracious that my brother Jeb is concerned about the hemisphere as well."

Chicago Sun-Times, 14 June 2001.

How do crazy people get through the woods? They take the psychopath!!!
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