Tomorrow Is National Grammar Day. Here Is George W. Bush’s 2008 Letter Inaugurating It.

Help. I have grammar in my eye.Carolyn Kaster/AP

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Tomorrow, as you know, is National Grammar Day, which makes today a good time to brush up on history.  President George W. Bush wrote a letter commemorating the day’s founding, in 2008, on White House stationery, replete with two spaces after periods.  I’ve contacted the George W. Bush Presidential Center to authenticate the letter:

Grammar site Quickanddirtytips.com

The White House
Washington

February 29, 2008

I send greetings to those celebrating National Grammar Day 2008.

Effective communication is critical to understanding the needs of others and building a prosperous future for our country.  By encouraging proper grammar in speech and literature, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar helps educate people about the importance of mastering the English language.  National Grammar Day is an opportunity to recognize how communication skills can help more Americans prepare for the challenges ahead and compete for the jobs of the 21st century.

I appreciate the members of SPOGG and all those dedicated to inspiring a love of learning in their fellow citizens.  Your efforts help strengthen the character of our Nation.

Laura and I send our best wishes.

George W. Bush

I’ve also attempted to contact the Office of George W. Bush to seek comment, but his Media Inquiries contact page is broken.  Clicking “Submit” yields an error:

Screenshot by Mother Jones on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

I tried on multiple browsers:

Screenshot by Mother Jones on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Dear Office of George W. Bush,

I’m writing about National Grammar Day, which is this Thursday, and want to confirm with you that President George W. Bush did in fact write the landmark February 29, 2008, letter on White House stationery commemorating the day’s inauguration as I’ve seen at www.quickanddirtytips.com/images/ngd/bush-letter.jpg. Could you please authenticate the letter? Does President Bush stand by the day?

Daniel King
dking@motherjones.com

It was a leap year, so February 29 checks out.

The day was founded by Martha Brockenbrough, the author of Things That Make Us [Sic], and although pedantry and prescriptiveness are actually the things that should make us [sic], there’s something recharging about a commemorative day, as long as grammar is viewed expansively and pluralistically and free of piety and sanctimony, including the right we all have to write run-on sentences.  Tomorrow is World Grammar Day; today we run sentences on.  And yes, you noticed that I just promoted National Grammar Day to World Grammar Day.  It contains multitudes.  Bush, known for his uniquely Bushian style, can join (or not).

If you observe the day, immediately donate $5 or $50,000 and nothing in between to Mother Jones.  I will thank you.  I am not suggesting quid pro quos, whose plural I have unpacked.  But I am suggesting a moral imperative to safeguard democracy and the independent reporting on which it depends by donating $900 million to Mother Jones today—act fast—and not a penny shy.  (You can donate any amount.)  Unless you dislike democracy.  Send strongly worded letters to styleguide@motherjones.com.  Never use two spaces after a period.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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