It’s time to treat matters of punctuation and usage with the seriousness that is their due. And it’s the dog days of August. So, limerick time!
In that spirit, I offer some examples and a challenge. My examples:
At Oxford, the fate of a comma
Has become an occasion for drama.
Is it more of a sin
To leave out or leave in?
It’s truly an eats-shoots dilemma.
Pundits have forecast the doom
Of the personal pronoun “whom.”
But when being polite
“Whom is speaking?” sounds right,
So move over, plain “who,” and make room.
“Hopefully” isn’t a word
That is greeted with joy when it’s heard.
If it’s not ungrammatical
It’s still anathematical
Because it’s a weaseling, irresponsible word.
Here’s the challenge: Write a language limerick yourself and post it in the comments below. You have a week and a day, until Friday, August 17. An impartial judge (myself) will determine the winner. And the winner gets a real prize—the revised paperback edition of OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word.
Aside from being a limerick (and not some other poetic form), the only restriction for this contest is, your limerick must be new and original and not published anywhere else, on paper or the Internet. (Don’t copy any of these, for example.)
Here’s one more limerick of my own, celebrating the practical value of proper usage:
The boss of iFixit.com
Tests the grammar of all with aplomb.
If you’d work for him, do
Know what’s “to” and what’s “too”
Or he’ll let you go, too, without qualm.