It may come as no surprise, but one of my favorite subjects in school was grammar. Admittedly, I even took a grammar course in college as an elective. Yes, even the professor was surprised to learn that I was in that classroom by choice. But I love the structure that grammar provides. It is an area governed by right and wrong, black and white – right?
That is what I had thought until this past Wednesday. During an internal meeting, the dovetail solutions team debated the meaning of the term “bi-weekly.” One individual, who, out of the kindness of my heart will go unnamed, argued that the term is correctly used when referring to a twice-weekly occurrence. The rest of the team, including me, disagreed. In a very compelling argument, I cited the AP Stylebook, which establishes the use of “bi-weekly” to express an occurrence every two weeks, and “semi-weekly” to indicate two times per week.
While doing some research into the correct use of the term “bi-weekly,” the best advice we found stated that this issue has become so confusing that the best solution is to instead indicate actual times, i.e., every two weeks. While I still defend the position that a bi-weekly meeting occurs every two weeks, we came to a more important realization through our disagreement: sometimes being “correct” is not as important as being clear. As communications professionals, we must weigh the grammatical rules in relation to the commonly accepted use of our language, as oftentimes the two will differ.
To that end, we have decided to implement a social media campaign that will provide weekly posts related to grammar, style and vocabulary. Check in each Wordy Wednesday as we share grammar and vocabulary tips, myths and puzzles.
How did we decide on a weekly campaign? While we hope to spread awareness regarding proper grammar and style, we also realize that the rest of the world may not enjoy grammar as much as we do. Therefore, we felt a SEMI-weekly campaign might be too often. ;)
Here’s to a grammatically correct culture!