God Rest Ye Merry Grammarians


OK, kids.  It’s that time of year again!

Time for the annual Holiday Cards Grammar Quiz.

Are you ready?  Get out your pencils.  Here we go.

Which one of these sentences is correct?

  1. Peace and Joy from the Bob Cratchits’.  _________________
  1. Best wishes of the season from Angelina, Brad and everyone at the Jolie-Pitts house, er houses, er continents._______________
  1. Over the river and through the woods from our house to yours’. ___________
  1. Holiday cheer from the Websters—all six of them. __________________
  1. Wishing you a season warm with smile’s and snowflake’s. ________

How did you do?

If that little quiz was a puzzler, here are some helpful hints about seasonal grammar.

Rule Number One:  Proper Noun Plurals

If you’re sending greetings from everyone in your family—Ma, Pa, and little Cindy Lou–then you’re in the land of the plurals—sorta like Whoville.  No need for holiday excess. Get rid of those apostrophes!

Not a Grinch nor an apostrophe in sight.

Here’s how you do it: Happy Holidays from the Whos.

Rule Number Two: Plural Possessives

I gotta admit–this one is a little tricky.

Let’s say you paid off your mortgage and want everyone to know that greetings come from your very own debt-free house. This year, it’s all about OWNERSHIP.

Here’s what you need:  Best wishes from everyone at the Trumps’ house.

Dust off that apostrophe and slap it on the Trumps–you know you wanted to…

Rule Number Three: You’re, Your and Yours’

Everything’s pretty straight forward here.

“You’re” is simply a winning combination.  Think chestnuts and an open fire. Mariah Carey and lip syncing. Or a houseful of people and plumbing problems.

You’re linking two words that naturally go together.

Now to the next one: “your.”   Here’s where it’s all about you: “Your” house, “your” unannounced distant relatives, “your” nervous breakdown.

No need to dress it up: “your” is as primal and stripped down as it gets.

And last of all, “yours’.”  There’s no such word.  It’s like a pleasant holiday shopping experience in the local mall. It simply does not exist.

Rule Number Four: Garden Variety Plurals

If you’re dressing up simple plurals with apostrophes–cookies’, and snowflake’s and raindrop’s on roses’s—then it’s time to take a break.

Put your feet up, pour that glass of eggnog, go ahead—splash a little bourbon on top and give a listen to one of my favorites.

Dolly Parton & Rod Stewart, \”Baby, It\’s Cold Outside\”

Oh, and if you guessed the fourth sentence was correct, you’re right!

Happy Holidays’!

3 Responses to “God Rest Ye Merry Grammarians”

  1. julie michel says:

    i like it!!

  2. susan snively says:

    wonderful! Love the shopping mall comment especially. Look for a great Santa joke in your e-mail….

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