Here are the winning winners in the Tweeted Haiku Contest

Arika Okrent’s 17 syllables captured the hearts of the judges, but there were scores of worthy entries in the National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest. The initial screening of 269 entries down to the top 10 resulted in 17 possibilities, and then judges asked to add another 11 back to the mix.

The five-judge panel then went into seclusion in the virtual grammar conclave for most of Sunday before they emerged with a winner, four runners up, and a mess of honorable mentions.

The winning haiku:

I am an error
And I will reveal myself
After you press “send”

See the separate blog entry on Okrent’s winning haiku.

The second-place haiku was written by Tom Freeman, a copy editor in the publishing department of a medical-research charity in London.

A man eating fish
was saved by a hyphen from
a man-eating fish

Freeman blogs at

The question comes up every year whether a National Grammar Day contest can accept entries from other nations. But we’re sort of light on rules at National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest headquarters. Our first winner was Canadian. An Irishman placed fifth last year and returns with an honorable mention this year. Freeman also earned an honorable mention in 2012. Fifth place this year went to an entry from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Perhaps we should consider National Grammar Day to encompass the English language nation.

Our third-place winner was Nancy Friedman, who describes herself as chief wordworker of Wordworking, a name developer in San Francisco:

Dear yoga teacher:
If you say “lay down” once more,
I’ll hurt you. No lie.

Friedman blogs about brands and language trends and is a contributor to Visual Thesaurus.

Judges chose business consultant Wendy Lynch’s haiku for fourth place:

Conjugating through
my existential crisis
I am, was, will be

And the fifth-place haiku was by Josh Evans, a researcher with Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen.

Is mood subjective?
Would that the subjunctive be
more than just a mood

There were many honorable mentions. And grammar aficionados are encouraged to look through all the entries at the event Storify. Here are the entries the judges deemed particularly worthy of honorable mention:

To tell grammar nuts
from regular folks, (see if
this makes them crazy

Grammar does its thing
In spite of sticklers’ wishes.
Omit needless rules.

Is it an eggcorn
or an autocorrect fail?
My interest is peaked.

“I can’t swim very good”
were Jim’s last words; he never
saw the well coming

A preposition
is a lovely sort of word to
end a sentence with

Loo what sholde a man
in thyse dayes now wryte
egges, or eyren

Litter your lines with
“literally”; I’ll go nuts.

Our judges were:

Check out the official National Grammar Day website for more March 4 activities.



5 thoughts on “Here are the winning winners in the Tweeted Haiku Contest

  1. Please. Even most second graders know haiku is a one breath poem. While your contestants submitted many seventeen syllable thoughts, no one submitted haiku. It’s time to erase the seventeen syllable structure from your mind. If you really want to have a haiku contest, contact those of us who know something about haiku to judge your contest.

  2. I love this! We are using it with our 8th graders to have them prepare for the Connecticut state test on grammar. Thanks!!

  3. When will radio interviewers stop the inapprorpiate use of sort of? If someone only sort of went to medical school then they should literally be jailed for impersonating a doctor.

  4. Josh Evans fifth-place haiku has been updated to restore a dropped word (and syllable) in the third line:

    Is mood subjective?
    Would that the subjunctive be
    more than just a mood

  5. Pingback: Link love: language (52) | Sentence first

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