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Write the Right Word: Not First Annual

You’ve probably seen or even said this: “This is the first annual meeting.”

Some word usage experts argue that this isn’t correct because you can’t consider an event to be an annual one until it has been held for at least two successive years. Others assert that calling an event the “first annual” simply indicates the organizers’ intention of holding it every year.

We in Ag Comm agree with the first group. Despite the best intentions, an event may not be held another year, so you can’t assume it will become an annual event.

The news media also agrees. So if you have a personal event, you can call it anything you like. But if you want your local paper or radio station to help promote your professional event, you need to call it something else, such the “inaugural” event. Then add that you plan to hold it again the following year.

, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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