Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

February 28, 2011
Grammar Girl knows the right words for National Grammar Day

mignon fogarty credit sarah shatz.jpgBy Allen Pierleoni

One way we're perceived is by how we speak and write. So says Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, whose books, website and podcasts are all about advising us on how to communicate in the most effective ways.

Fogarty is a former magazine writer with a degree in English, and lives in Reno. On the subject of email, she told Publishers Weekly magazine, "Writing a high-quality email message doesn't take much more time than writing a careless message - it just takes more focus."

With more ways than ever to interface with each other - text messaging comes to mind - correct grammar is increasingly important. Just ask any teacher or parent. Helping things along will be National Grammar Day on Friday, March 4, which will put the spotlight on making the right word choices.

But grammar is hard stuff, right? Not the way Grammar Girl presents it. "The easiest way to improve (your grammar and writing) is to do a little bit every day. Short rules make up the bulk of what people need to know," she explains on her website,

There, we found the answers to those nagging grammar questions: Who versus whom? Lay versus lie? What about ending a sentence with a preposition? We also found helpful links to experts on subjects such as money, career, lifestyle, health and pets.

Fogarty's books are "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing" (Holt, $14, 240 pages) and "The Grammar Devotional" (Holt, $15, 240 pages). Coming in July will be "Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again" (St. Martin's Griffin, $5.99, 144 pages) and "Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know" (St. Martin's Griffin, $5.99, 128 pages).

For more on Fogarty, visit the website set up by her publisher:

One last thing: What's the grammar-related question Grammar Girl hears most often? That would be: "What's the difference between the words 'affect' and 'effect'?" If you don't know, consider signing up for a lesson.

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty knows her "P's" from her "Q's."

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives