Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grammar Quiz: Inaugural vs. First Annual

I read on someone's Facebook wall the other day a comment correcting someone on their use of "first annual." They said that the correct term is "inaugural." I'm pretty obsessed with the nitty gritty things like that, but I've never heard of "first annual" being poor English. I understand the argument that you can't be sure something will be annual until the second year (things come up...) but I don't know if social climate or skepticism can be a reason to exclusively use "inaugural." Also, I thought that "inaugural" was the first of anything--- like presidential addresses. It's not necessarily annual. Of course, I wouldn't be posting this if I knew the answer-- I've looked it up and on several different grammar and English sites I've seen the argument but no definitive answer. Was anyone taught one way or another by an English or journalism teacher? I'm interested to find out... Until then, I'll keep Google-ing (or go get my AP Stylebook out of my car -- I can't imagine anything not being in there.)


  1. I have to say, I never really thought about this before. But I checked and AP does rule on it:

    "An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held for two successive years."

    It doesn't say anything about the use of "inaugural" though. Inaugural can mean the first of something, so it's fine to use, but there's not rule that says you have to.

  2. Think of birthdays...

    Your 1st birthday celebration was the day you were born.
    Your 1st annual birthday celebration is when you turn 1 year old.
    Your 2nd annual birthday celebration is when you turn 2 years old.