National Grammar Day: English language controversies

National English Grammar Day is celebrated every year on 11 March. The date was proposed by the community «Promoting Good Grammar». Since then, the best linguists in the country give lectures and seminars on this day to raise awareness of the importance of grammar.

English translation in Minsk.

It has become a tradition to tackle some particularly tricky grammar points on the day. This year, native speakers and learners identified three of the most difficult, from their point of view, questions:

Plural Consonant. Seeing the sentence «This is one of those things that drives me crazy», many may point out an error. Most students want to replace the singular with the plural of the verb drives. There is no officially accepted variant, so both are accepted.
Borrowing in English. The basics of creating a plural from the singular are familiar to anyone who learns English: you simply add -s or -es to words. But there are exceptions to all the rules, and these are especially true of foreign words. Before adding an ending to a word, you need to know what language it comes from. Be sure to follow any grammatical trends, so be aware of the grammatical rules.
Distinguish between which and that. Roosevelt’s famous phrase after the bombing of the US Navy fleet in Hawaii — «A date which will live in infamy» — might seem wrong at first sight. After all, in English the pronoun which is supposed to introduce additional data. But in some cases, it is more appropriate to use the word that, as it creates a certain boundary in a sentence. This distinction can be difficult to grasp, even for native English speakers.

The examples given just prove once again that grammar is a very difficult section to learn, one that is as fluid and changeable as possible. This is why National Grammar Day is becoming more and more relevant every year.