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Our winning haiku / a playful mix of grammar, / wisdom, poetry

After hours of discussion about the finer points of haiku, grammar and gamma radiation, the six judges and the sponsor of the National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest emerged from their secret grammar chamber to announce a winner.

It was not an easy task, and there were many opinions on which haiku should wear the figurative mantles of victory (no actual mantles will be awarded). Because there are so many excellent haiku that deserve mention, I’m compiling a complete list from the #grammarday hashtag, and I’ll post it here shortly.

Without further delay, the winning haiku:Spell-checkers won’t catchYou’re mistaken homophonesScattered hear and their

The winning haiku was written by Gord Roberts (@GordinaryWords on Twitter), whose 18 tweets to date are all about National Grammar Day. He wins the top prize of a copy of “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing,” by National Grammar Day host Mignon Fogarty, and his choice of a t-shirt or mug with my favorite piece of writing advice:

If Gord should be unable to complete his National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Winner duties, that responsibility will fall to our first runner up: Andy Hollandbeck (@4ndyman on Twitter). His haiku:If you’ve much to sayA well-placed semicolonCan save your big but

Second runner-up is Dawn McIlvain Stahl (@PurplePenning) who offered:With bowl, spoon, and milk,I like to add a littleserial comma

Third runner-up is Gerri Berendzen (@gerrrib):A wise ruler knowsdangling modifiers canconfuse the subjects

Our fourth runner-up is Melissa Dobson (@madbeyond):Words are discrete wavesAnd language is a vast seaGrammar is a ship

Honorable mentions go to Wendy Mackall, John McIntyre, Arika Okrent, Scott Huler, Jen Ross, David Sanchez, Neal Whitman and William Regan. I’ll post their haiku in a bit along with the scores of other honorable entries.

Thank you to all our hardworking judges:

  1. Jag Bhalla, author of “I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears” and researcher into the less logical aspects of life and language.

  2. Erin Brenner, blogger, freelance editor at Right Touch Editing, and editor at Copyediting newsletter.

  3. Martha Brockenbrough, founder of National Grammar Day and the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, and author of “Things That Make Us (Sic).”

  4. GRAMMARHULK, editor, tweeter and lover of ALL CAPS who smashes poor usage choices but promises a delicate approach to sorting haiku.

  5. Erin McKean, founder of Wordnik, the online compendium of all the words, and author of “The Secret Lives of Dresses.”

  6. Amy Reynaldo, freelance editor, crossword blogger, and author of “How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.”

Be sure to visit the National Grammar Day website at And check back to this blog for updates.

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