At the beginning of the month TIME Magazine ran a story, ”Grammar Geeks Throw a Fit Over Obama’s ‘Forward.’ Slogan.” The article covers a recent debate over the correctness of the period in the Obama campaign slogan. According to the article, several expert grammarians as well as political and economic leaders have been going back and forth about how effective the slogan is. Some say that “forward” shouldn’t be used as a sentence. Others argue that the real problem lies with punctuation.
Given the interest that our Facebook community has in grammar and writing, we wondered what our followers might think about the issue. Last Tuesday, we ran a poll asking the Facebook community what it thought. We asked: “Obama has a new campaign slogan,”Forward.” Is the period correct or incorrect?” The results of the poll were:
Results as of 9:30 am, EST on 20 August 2012.**
Of 1,106 respondents, 63 percent saw no problem with the punctuation of the slogan. One user commented on the topic, saying:
“It is an imperative statement with the subject and object implied, which is perfectly acceptable grammar.”
Another commented that:
“I don’t understand why grammar enthusiasts are even debating the issue. At least he didn’t pull a dumb move and choose “Foreword!” instead. Now THAT is debate worthy!”
Comparably, 37 percent of voters thought that the slogan used incorrect punctuation or was unclear because of it. One user pointed out that:
“In order to be an imperative sentence, ‘forward.’ would need to be a intransitive verb. It’s rarely (and only in a specific sense) used that way. The indication in the slogan is that the word is an adverb—as in ‘Let’s move forward.’”
Several voters mentioned that they thought the slogan worked as an imperative or would make more sense with a different punctuation mark like a exclamation mark.
Additionally, some admitted that they thought the slogan wasn’t grammatically correct, but that the period added symbolic meaning.
**The Grammarly.com Facebook Page is a fun, open community for all people interested in English language, writing, grammar, and education. Many of our users are passionate about the English language and do not represent a random sample of the population.