Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Grammar

So...as you have all guessed, I have been inspired by seeing three totally different spellings of the just passed holiday celebrating our 43 (well, 42 if you only count Cleveland once) previous chief executives. In a random sampling of ads, news stories and other assorted media, I have found three different spellings spread out pretty equally.

One thing I know...it absolutely, positively can NOT be President's Day. That makes no sense at all, unless we are intending only to celebrate the current President. Since, at any given time, roughly 48% of the people probably dislike whoever is in the office, it seems unlikely that we would give him a holiday every single year...

That gets us down to Presidents' day versus Presidents Day.

The argument for the first is that the day belongs to all of our Presidents, and that the correct grammar is therefore to use the plural possessive form.

The argument for the latter is that it is to celebrate the Presidents and is named after them, but does not belong to them.

And, um, I don't have an answer to you, because my extensive (brief) research has uncovered an alarming parallel fact: Mothers Day, Father's Day and Veterans' Day all have the same three-way mis-spelling issues (although you can argue that either Mother's Day or Father's Day is correct because you can in fact celebrate just your own parents, not anyone else's).

And to really muck things up, the official designation from the US Code (section 6103a of Title 5 if you are curious) is that today is George Washington's birthday (it is not, by the way). So there is really no official source on the name.

So...um...I guess I have wasted a whole bunch of blog space? Good thing it is free...

In other news, three straight days of sitting on the couch was too much for me. I got bored, antsy and cranky and just developed a really bad case of cabin fever. Not helping this was that Munchkin was suffering from much of the same issue (although this is thankfully the last weekend that will be the case) so we were irritated together. And once we finished the chocolate that Frenchie sent her, we had little left to do.

As evidence of this, The Boy worked all day today, and I am not entirely convinced that he didn't have the day off;-). So, against my own rules and my doctor's suggestion, we went to the grocery store. I know...exciting, huh? Didn't matter, we just needed to get out of the house, get some fresh air and experience civilized other people. Also, we really needed Doritos, but that was just sort of a side story...

And if that doesn't sum up the excitement of my weekend, then I don't know what will!!!


Brian said...

Today never used to be a holiday in my native province of Ontario. However, the people of Ontario decided they needed a holiday in the month of February so .... Family Day! That's right, the holiday is referred to as Family Day.

I have no other story here, just wanted to spread my useless knowledge.

In other news, I hope Munchkin's ankle is healing and feeling better. I see a good lace up ankle brace in her athletic future.

Megan said...

I would assume it is supposed to be President's day though because President's day was initially a celebration of Washington's birthday, was it not?

I am Canadian, so I do not know much about these things.

cait said...

Having gone to school for journalism and now working in the PR industry, I constantly consult my handy Associated Press Stylebook for these types of conundrums. According to the AP, it's "Presidents Day." Also, under the entry it says, "Not adopted by the federal government as the official name of the Washington's Birthday holiday. However, some federal agencies, states and local governments use the term."

Mighty interesting, eh? :)