National Punctuation Day - International English Spelling Day?

Happy National Punctuation Day!!!

Yes, really! Today (24th September) is National Punctuation Day in the USA. It aims to remind people how to punctuate properly and bake cakes in the shape of punctuation marks! If you don't believe me, look here: .

And for those of you who are EFL/ESL/ESOL (etc) teachers, here is a great lesson plan based on this auspicious occasion:

It got me wondering...

What about a National Spelling Day?

I googled National Spelling Day and could only find mention of a Korean one and lots of questions asking why there wasn't one. (It was a very brief search so if you know of one I've missed, I beg your pardon).

So what about having an International English Spelling Day?

  • Maybe the twelfth of February - that's pretty hard to spell.
What would the aim be?
  • to nag people about their 'dreadful' spelling? (the decline of standards, blah, blah, blah)
  • to press for spelling changes? (I don't go for this but know many who would)
  • to laugh at funny spelling mistakes people make? For example, here's one I read earlier this week: "He was rushed to hospital in a comma." (Not a funny subject I know - and you'll be pleased to know he's back home and recovering nicely - but created a great visual image. Topical too - this being National Punctuation Day.)
  • to teach one element of spelling each year? Hmmm... slow progress.
  • what else? Feel free to comment below.
How would people celebrate International English Spelling Day?
  • deface menus, signs, greengrocer's shops, etc., to correct misspellings?
  • raise money for charity by paying for each spelling mistake they make during the day?
  • erect new sculptures around towns which spell words that people have difficulties spelling?
The possibilities are endless. I'd love to hear your suggestions. The dafter, the better.


  1. I have a great article re: the relationship between auditory and visual spelling at

  2. Hello Mark,

    Thank you for your leaving the link to your article. We obviously don't agree about teaching spelling phonetically and visually! I agree that the heart of English spelling is auditory but just like with the human body you have to cut through quite a lot of other things before you get to that heart. (Just thought of that analogy and not sure it works!!)

    There are several systems going on in English spelling and the phonological is only one of them and probably the least reliable. Morphological and etymological factors are much more reliable. And so are word patterns - which are visual. For example, if we tried to spell 'give' phonologically we would have to write 'guiv'. There is a pattern (even perhaps a rule, though I don't like the word) that English words don't end in 'v' so we add an 'e' to follow that (visual) rule.