Perhaps like me, you ran across this engaging op-ed by Ellen Jovin on page A11 in the Friday, August 12, 2022, edition of The L.A. Times. It’s available digitally and in print.
Entitled “How Fighting Over Grammar Can Help Fix a Divided America,” it details Ms. Jovin’s goals to set up and run a “Grammar Table” on the streets of New York City to answer grammar questions from passersby. She has a strong background as a professional editor, teacher, and writer, and is a self-proclaimed lifelong grammar nerd. (Yay!)
Ms. Jovin used a folding table and chair and attached a homemade “Grammar Table” sign. Then, she waited for customers. The first arrived within thirty seconds!
Before long, she noticed that “any rancor [generated from disagreements over grammar issues] was mostly feigned and the chats cathartic” as she kept moving the table around the city. Eventually, having answered questions from all ages, races, political parties, socio-economic classes, education levels, and job descriptions, she came to realize that “the disputes that played out at her pop-up grammar advice stand were always friendly and grounded in mutual respect.”
Ms. Jovin and her husband filmed the Grammar Table for a documentary, visiting forty-seven states before being halted by the pandemic. She discovered that her grammar chats helped create tiny bonds between people, which, she believed, could “support the larger connections we need for our communities to thrive.”
So, get a clue, readers. Can your untangling a smaller problem with others help eventually unite a fractured neighborhood or society? Sometimes, little successes can nurture big results!