By: Rita Ray | September 24, 2018

Picture of a comma

Happy National Punctuation Day! Founded by Jeff Rubin, National Punctuation Day is celebrated in the United States and has been celebrated every year on September 24 for nearly a decade and a half. At Proof It, we’re going to celebrate the holiday by taking a brief look at the comma

Aristophanes of Byzantium was a Greek literary critic and grammarian who became the chief librarian in Alexandria, Egypt in c. 195 BC. Around this time, writers wrote with no spaces between their words justlikethisandleftittothereader to figure it out—now imagine sentences and paragraphs crammed together like this. As you can tell, that caused some issues. Aristophanes suggested using dots of ink aligned with the middle (·), bottom...

Category: Just for Fun 

Tags: Punctuation 

By: Rita Ray | March 04, 2018

Just a quick post to wish everybody happy National Grammar Day!

National Grammar Day was established back in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and author of Things That Make Us [Sic]. It has been celebrated annually on March 4. The day was even commemorated in its inaugural year by the president.

Category: Just for Fun 

Tags: Grammar, Holidays, Fun 

By: Rita Ray | January 29, 2018

My friend posted a selfie on Facebook exemplifying the difficulties of short people shopping for pants. We’re both short—like “have to jump to see what’s on the top shelf at the grocery store” short. I started to comment on her post about my favorite pair of ankle-length jeans (which was definitely floor-length on me) when I paused midsentence with a brain cramp: should I use “were” or “was” with “pair” when talking about my go-to jeans from high school?

I won’t leave you in suspense: the answer was to treat “pair” as a singular noun. But why?

A quick lookup in a dictionary clarifies that the word “pair” is both singular and plural.

So how did I decide whether to make “pair” singular or plural? I looked at the meaning I was trying to convey. I...

Category: Clarification 

Tags: Word Wise 

By: Rita Ray | November 23, 2017

Ever get caught up in how to spell or punctuate the name of a holiday? The Chicago Manual of Style lists the following secular and religious holidays, officially designated days, and seasons:

  • All Fools’ Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Earth Day
  • Election Day
  • Father’s Day
  • the Fourth of July, the Fourth
  • Good Friday
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • Holy Week
  • Inauguration Day
  • Independence Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • Labor Day
  • Lent
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • National Poetry Month
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Passover
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Ramadan
  • Remembrance Day (Canada)
  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Saint Patrick’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Yom Kippur
  • Yuletide


  • D-day
  • a bank holiday

You can find this list in the the 17th edition in section 8.89.

Best Wishes,

Rita Ray

By: Rita Ray | September 24, 2017

National Punctuation Day  

Today is National Punctuation Day! This new holiday was originally celebrated on August 22, the birthday of the founder Jeff Rubin. Rubin wanted a date that he could easily remember, but he changed the date two years later to September 24 so that it landed after the beginning of the school year. He wanted to remind educators to teach students that punctuation matters.

Rubin, a former reporter, would get frustrated at errors he would spot in news articles. He said, "I would sit at the kitchen table with my red Sharpie ... screaming obscenities, which would upset my wife. She encouraged me to find another outlet for my aggravation." (Source: CNN) As a result, in 2004 he secured a listing for National Punctuation Day in the...

Category: Uncategorized 

Tags: Punctuation, Holidays