SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When it comes to writing, it may be hard to tell what’s an adjective or adverb, or when to use a period or semicolon. In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1987 with KELOLAND’s Perry Groten and show you a hotline that helped with grammar.

Operators are standing by, taking calls from all kinds of people who have all kinds of questions about grammar, even school principals.

“Asking, where do put the commas? I say, okay in what reference, and they say well I’m using a quotation, where do I put the commas. I said periods and commas inside the quotation, semicolons and colons outside, and that made him very happy.”

English instructors armed with an assortment of reference books provide the answers. In spite of the grammar hotline’s college headquarters, organizers don’t expect a lot of calls from students because of their already easy access to textbooks and teachers. Instead, the hotline receives most of its calls from members of the business community.

“I think grammar was probably poured into their heads in grade school, and I’m sure they had it in high school, maybe they forgot it.”

The service is free of charge, and confidential, for those of you embarrassed about not knowing your adjectives from your adverbs, or just having a difficult time keeping up with the ever-changing English language.

“One person said I want to write about a manhole cover, should I call it a personhole cover? I said no. We haven’t gone that far.”

Perry Groten, KELOLAND News, Rapid City.