According to the Chicago Manual of Style, “names of secular and religious holidays or specially designated days or seasons are capitalized.”
Easy enough. That includes the day for mothers and also the day for fathers—both “specially designated days.”
But what about that darn apostrophe?
I guess it depends on if you’re talking about a day – in the possessive sense – that belongs to just one mother (mother’s) or to all mothers (mothers’). Or how about just making it a plural day for all mothers, without any possession by any of the mothers: Mothers Day.
For what it’s worth, the Chicago Manual says “Mother’s Day.” My personal preference is "Mothers Day" -- a day that celebrates lot of mums, but that does not belong to anybody.
And the same goes for dads.
March 4, 2010, is National Grammar Day, hosted this year by my colleague, “Grammar Girl” (Mignon Fogarty). Join in the festivities by checking out Grammar Girl’s Web site.
Next to Thanksgiving, National Grammar Day is my favorite holiday. Please take 10 or 20 minutes out of your day, and ponder the wonder of language and grammar; thank a teacher who made a difference; show appreciation for a parent, an aunt, or a coworker who helped you learn to speak and write better.
Here is a tongue-in-cheek look at some important Grammar 101 “rules":
1. Each pronoun should agree with their antecedent.
2. Just between you and I, case is important.
3. Verbs has to agree with their subject.
4. A writer should not shift your point of view.
5. Don't write a run-on sentence you have to punctuate it.
6. In articles books memos and materials like that we use commas to keep things apart. Without them we would have without doubt confusion.
7. But, don't use, commas, which are not, necessary.
8. Its important to use apostrophe’s correctly.
9. Don’t abbrev. unless nec.
10. Kuteness makes u look dumb, so make sure
11. Use Capital Letters correctly.
12. Check to see to if you any words out.
13. In my opinion and way of thinking, based on my long experience, I think and opine that an author or writer when he or she is writing something that he or she should not get accustomed to the habit or mode of operation of making use of too many redundant unnecessary words or phrases that he or she does not actually really require or need in order to put his or her thoughts or message across to the reader of the article or whatever he or she is writing.
14. About repetition and effective writing, the repetition of a word is not usually effective.
15. Don’t runyour words together.
16. To effectively write, avoid splitting infinitives. It’s better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
17. Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct
18. Eschew polysyllabic profundity. Also, eschew sesquipedalian obfuscation.
19. Your probably aware that their are sometimes mistakes when writing “there” or “they’re” instead of “their” and “your” instead of “you’re.”
20. Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
21. Watch out that in your writing that you don't have have an extra word in your sentence.
22. You all should avoid regional speech patterns.
23. Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized.
24. Too many rules stifle creativity. Do not make up your own rules. Failure to observe this will result in dismissal.
25. If your verb tenses agreed, you have written a good sentence.
26. Proofreading is improtant.
27. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.
28. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
29. Its important to use apostrophe’s correctly.
30. Last, but not least, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, knock off the clichés!
In the mid-1960s, I was a mod and groovy kinda chick, a teenager who loved listening to the Top Forty—American pop as well as the British Invasion. I remember playing 45s in Patti's gameroom: "Light My Fire" by the Doors, "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits, "Don't Bring Me Down" by the Animals, and, of course, "Satisfaction" by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. The number 1 song on the charts in February 1967 was "Kind of a Drag" by the Buckinghams. We sang our hearts out:
"Canada Dry, when your baby don't love you. Canada Dry, when you know she's been untrue." That's what we heard.
Singers of pop and rock and roll had very little concern with clarity (unlike in the days of Bing Crosby and the Mitch Miller Singers). Rock and pop singers began omitting details such as vowels and consonants, leaving teenyboppers like Patti and me to interpret on our own their loose lyrics and mangled meanings. John Fred and the Playboys were singing about “Judy in the skies,” not “Judy in disguise,” right? Another example which I will now confess: Van Morrison, in "Brown Eyed Girl," sang about being "behind the stadium with you." But I heard: "behind the shady umber tree." Now, as far as I know, there is no such thing as an umber tree, but that's what I heard, and that's what I sang as we cruised along in David's metallic blue Chevy Nova, radio blasting. In a moment of adolescent embarrassment, my girlfriends eventually pointed out my error to me; I nevertheless still hear Mr. Morrison singing about a shady umber tree.
This wrong hearing of song lyrics is a phenomenon with a name: Mondegreen. As defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed. 2000), a Mondegreen is a "series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric." According to popular belief, the term, "Mondegreen," is attributed to Sylvia Wright, who, in a 1954 magazine article wrote about the lyrics of a Scottish ballad she’d heard when she was young, "The Bonny Earl of Murray." Evidently, as a child, Ms. Wright thought she heard the following:
Ye highlands and ye lowlands
Oh where ha'e you been?
Thou ha'e slay the Earl of Muray
And Lady Mondegreen.
But, in fact, the lyrics to this ballad are:
Ye highlands and ye lowlands
Oh were ha'e you been?
Thou ha'e slay the Earl of Murray
And they lay him on the Green.
And so this phonetic folly was given a name. Mondegreen. Among the Mondegreen rock and roll hall-of-famers are Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" (The ants are my friend, they're blowin' in the wind) and "Lay Lady Lay" (Lady Elaine, lay across my big brass bed); Jimi Hendrix and "Purple Haze" (Excuse me while I kiss this guy); and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by the Beatles."
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with colitis goes by.
For more of this word trickery, click here.
As the Christmas season approaches, I’m reminded of the young lad who queried his Sunday school teacher: “Who is round John Virgin?” Christmas carols and other holiday songs are great pickings for Mondegreens, especially with children, whose vocabularies are limited and imaginations are working overtime. For example:
The first Noel,
The first Noel,
Bells on Bob’s tail ring
Bells on bobtail ring
Olive, the other reindeer
All of the other reindeer
Glad tidings we bring
Glad tidings we bring
… And my favorite …
In the meadow we can build a snowman;
Later on, we’ll perspire
In the meadow we can build a snowman;
Later on, we’ll conspire
Mondegreen itself is a Mondegreen. Misheard lyrics may have alternate names, such as Music Ear Disturbance, disclexia, chronic lyricosis. Often with misheard lyrics, we don’t realize our mistake for years. And so, a good Mondegreen lasts for years and becomes an affectionate and amusing way to define the music we listen to.
Cherish your Mondegreens, especially this holiday season. Take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one who has been disenchanted to learn that it was chestnuts—not chipmunks—roasting on an open fire ... and may you sleep in heavenly peas.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~
Caution. Do not confuse Mondegreens with mere imitations or inventions. Mondegreens are genuine misunderstandings of words and lyrics and are not deliberately created as parodies (such as “Jingle bells, Santa smells, Robin laid an egg”).
A few months ago, my power went out. It was down for nearly five days. Of course, one of my biggest concerns was what was in the refrigerator and freezer. I moved the more perishable items from the frig to the freezer after day one of the power outage.
A day or two later, John arrived with coolers, and we emptied out the frig and freezer and transported everything to his house.
When the power finally came back on, so did the TV, the lights, the cordless telephones, and of course, the refrigerator and freezer.
How much we take for granted.
Anyway, life was back to normal. Except for some reason, the icemaker would not dispense ice. Damn. It’s always something.
I’ve survived these past couple of months by just plucking the ice cubes from the icemaker bucket in the freezer. But tonight, while I was decluttering the kitchen counters, I thought I’d give this icemaker a closer look. I never realized I could actually remove the icemaker bucket. I used to think it was permanently affixed to the freezer (though common sense told me that just couldn’t be right). So tonight, I wiggled and pulled the bucket, and sure enough, out it came.
I took it over to the sink and dumped out the full-to-capacity ice cubes. Then, I carefully began chipping away with a screw driver at all the ice cubes. Next, I poured cool water over the stuck-to-the bottom cubes and the ones, like stationary mini-glaciers, that were clinging to the very bottom of the bucket.
Then I saw it: frozen inside one of these mini-glaciers, right at the point where the ice cubes are intended to exit, was a hard-boiled egg! It was the hard-boiled egg that I now remember moving from the frig to the freezer the first day of the power outage. This was the bad egg that was clogging my ice dispenser.
I had been prepared to call an appliance repairman – had his name and phone number ready to go. I wonder how much money I saved by doing this manly task myself. And I can only imagine the laughs over the hard-boiled egg that the repairman
would have found among the ice cubes.
HOPE YOU HAD A GREAT THANKSGIVING!
BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SMALL THINGS.
I'm grateful that other people write poetry ....
One day is there of the series
Termed Thanksgiving day,
Celebrated part at table,
Part in memory.
Neither patriarch nor pussy,
I dissect the play;
Seems it, to my hooded thinking,
Had there been no sharp subtraction
From the early sum,
Not an acre or a caption
Where was once a room,
Not a mention, whose small pebble
Wrinkled any bay,--
Unto such, were such assembly,
'T were Thanksgiving day.
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