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ground hog day

Of all the things that might keep you up at night, inconsistency in punctuation of national holidays is likely not one of them. But it does bother some grammarians and a handful of other logical thinkers.

ground hog dayTake Groundhog Day. It’s a day we give a large rodent weather-forecasting power and hope he gets it right. But why isn’t it the possessive Groundhog’s Day? Like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? The day clearly belongs to the groundhog, as the others belong to mothers and fathers. Which brings up another question. Why aren’t those two days Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day? Or Mothers and Fathers Day? We celebrate all veterans on Veterans Day. Though you may see that noted as Veterans’ Day. Presidents Day is another conundrum. It celebrates a couple of important presidents…it’s their day. So why is it not Presidents’ Day? April Fool’s Day? Now we know there’s more than one fool out there, so why isn’t it April Fools’ Day or April Fools Day?

You get the idea.

However, there is something that’s true of all holidays: In the end, it matters not how you punctuate them, but how you celebrate them!

By the way, did you know that Groundhog Day could have been Badger Day? The German immigrants who came to Pennsylvania brought the tradition from their homeland, where badgers had forecasting prowess. Here they found a plentiful groundhog population, but nary a badger.

The Cheery Grammarian, who is the master of fun facts like these, resides at TCG Advertising & Design and can be found on Twitter, musing about punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, spelling, word origins…all those things you probably paid no attention to in school. Follow at: twitter

wait till you read this!

tillOr should it be ‘Til? Or neither of those, but rather the whole word: Until?
It’s been said that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn for those for whom it is not their native tongue. Here’s one of those conundrums that just make people scratch their heads – even those for whom English IS their native tongue.
Thanks to the good-natured wordsmiths at Grammar Party for the details on the till/’til/until question. Here’s the case they make for till:

It would follow that till evolved as an abbreviation of until. However, till is actually the older word, being about eight hundred years old in comparison with until’s mere four hundred years. Until came into being as a compound of till, which originally meant to—and still does in Scotland—and the Old Norse word und, which means up to
Since till is the etymological forefather of until, it makes sense that it would be the best choice for a shortened version of until.
 
But, there’s also support for ‘til:
Using apostrophes to replace letters happens frequently in English. Think about goin’ or rock ‘n’ roll. This makes ‘til seem like a natural shortening of until. Besides, since when do we add an extra letter (the second l in till) when we abbreviate words?
Finally, here’s their verdict:

Till is generally accepted as being more correct than ‘til. According to the Associated Press Stylebooktill is the way to go. And, depending on which dictionary you use, ‘til is either an accepted alternative spelling or a spelling error. Despite some sources considering ‘til not technically wrong, it’s best to use till as all sources consider it correct.
And we feel that you can never go wrong with the full and complete UNTIL.
Read the entire Grammar Party blog on this topic here.