A couple of weeks ago, Geoff Pullum wrote on Lingua Franca about the that/which rule, which he calls “a rule which will live in infamy”. (For my own previous posts on the subject, see here, here, and here.) He runs through the whole gamut of objections to the rule—that the rule is an invention, that [...]
Archive for 2012
If you’d like to buy anything for Christmas from the Arrant Pedantry Store or product designer, today’s the deadline for ordering with standard shipping. You still have a few more days if you plan on using premium or express shipping—see the deadlines here.
The other day I added some funds to my student card and saw a familiar message: “Your Deposit Completed Successfully!” I’ve seen the similar message “Completion successful” on gas pumps after I finish pumping gas. These messages seem perfectly ordinary at first glance, but the more I thought about them, the more I realized how [...]
The distinction between hanged and hung is one of the odder ones in the language. I remember learning in high school that people are hanged, pictures are hung. There was never any explanation of why it was so; it simply was. It was years before I learned the strange and complicated history of these two [...]
Recently on Twitter, Mark Allen wrote, “Despite once being synonyms, ‘enormity’ and ‘enormousness’ are different. Try to keep ‘enormity’ for something evil or outrageous.” I’ll admit right off that this usage problem interests me because I didn’t learn about the distinction until a few years ago. To me, they’re completely synonymous, and the idea of [...]
Spreadshirt just opened a new production center in Las Vegas, and to celebrate, they’re giving away free shipping today with the coupon code HELLOLASVEGAS. Once again, the code works at both the regular Arrant Pedantry Store and the new product designer.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with Mededitor on Twitter about name spelling and style. It started with a tweet from Grammar Girl linking to an old post of hers on whether you need a comma before “Jr.” She notes that most style guides now leave out the commas. Mededitor opined that [...]
I’ve been meaning to write a real post for a couple of weeks now, but until it’s up you’ll have to satisfy yourself with free shipping on all orders at the Arrant Pedantry Store with the coupon GIVETHANKSSHIP. You can use it at both the regular store and the new product designer, which allows you [...]
As I said in the addendum to my last post, maybe I’m not so ready to abandon the technical definition of grammar. In a recent post on Copyediting, Andrea Altenburg criticized the word funner in an ad for Chuck E. Cheese as “improper grammar”, and my first reaction was “That’s not grammar!” That’s not entirely [...]
It’s a frequent complaint among linguists that laypeople use the term grammar in such a loose and unsystematic way that it’s more or less useless. They say that it’s overly broad, encompassing many different types of rules, and that it allows people to confuse things as different as syntax and spelling. They insist that spelling, [...]