Year: 2011

October 4, 2011

Winners!

After much deliberation, I have two winners for the Kindle 3G / You Are What You Speak giveaway contest. There were a lot of good suggestions that would have made great posts, though I felt unqualified or underqualified to tackle some of those topics myself. I might try to get to some of the non-winning […]

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Uncategorized One Reply to “Winners!”
September 27, 2011

Contest Reminders

Just a reminder that my blog is currently competing in Grammar.net’s Best Grammar Blog of 2011 contest. Arrant Pedantry is currently in third. If you like my blog, please go vote. Also, the deadline for submissions for my own contest sponsored by Stack Exchange English Language and Usage is fast approaching. Submit an idea for […]

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September 23, 2011

It’s Not Wrong, but You Still Shouldn’t Do It

A couple of weeks ago, in my post “The Value of Prescriptivism,” I mentioned some strange reasoning that I wanted to talk about later—the idea that there are many usages that are not technically wrong, but you should still avoid them because other people think they’re wrong. I used the example of a Grammar Girl […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Usage, Words 13 Replies to “It’s Not Wrong, but You Still Shouldn’t Do It”
September 20, 2011

Contests!

Topic Contest I’m very pleased to announce the first-ever contest here at Arrant Pedantry, sponsored by the generous folks at Stack Exchange English Language and Usage. The first-prize winner will receive a new Kindle 3G. A Word from Our Sponsor Stack Exchange English Language and Usage is a collaborative, community-driven site focused on questions about […]

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Uncategorized 28 Replies to “Contests!”
September 16, 2011

What Is a Namesake?

I just came across the sentence “George A. Smith became the namesake for St. George, Utah” while editing. A previous editor had changed it to “In 1861 St. George, Utah, became the namesake of George A. Smith.” Slightly awkward wording aside, I preferred the unedited form. Apparently, though, this is an issue of divided usage, […]

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Words 10 Replies to “What Is a Namesake?”
September 12, 2011

Smelly Grammar

Earlier today on Twitter, Mark Allen posted a link to this column on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website about a few points of usage. It begins with a familiar anecdote about dictionary maker Samuel Johnson and proceeds to analyze the grammar and usage of the exchange between him and an unidentified woman. Pretty quickly, though, […]

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Usage, Words 0 Replies to “Smelly Grammar”
September 8, 2011

The Value of Prescriptivism

Last week I asked rather skeptically whether prescriptivism had moral worth. John McIntyre was interested by my question and musing in the last paragraph, and he took up the question (quite admirably, as always) and responded with his own thoughts on prescriptivism. What I see is in his post is neither a coherent principle nor […]

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Prescriptivism, Usage 2 Replies to “The Value of Prescriptivism”
August 30, 2011

Does Prescriptivism Have Moral Worth?

I probably shouldn’t be getting into this again, but I think David Bentley Hart’s latest post on language (a follow-up to the one I last wrote about) deserves a response. You see, even though he’s no longer cloaking his peeving with the it’s-just-a-joke-but-no-seriously defense, I think he’s still cloaking his arguments in something else: spurious […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Usage 9 Replies to “Does Prescriptivism Have Moral Worth?”
August 7, 2011

It’s just a joke. But no, seriously.

I know I just barely posted about the rhetoric of prescriptivism, but it’s still on my mind, especially after the recent post by David Bentley Hart and the responses by response by John E. McIntyre (here and here) and Robert Lane Greene. I know things are just settling down, but my intent here is not […]

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Prescriptivism 7 Replies to “It’s just a joke. But no, seriously.”
August 2, 2011

Who, That, and the Nature of Bad Rules

A couple of weeks ago the venerable John E. McIntyre blogged about a familiar prescriptive bugbear, the question of that versus who(m). It all started on the blog of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, where a Professor Jacoby, a college English professor, wrote in to share his justification for the rule, which […]

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Prescriptivism, Usage 10 Replies to “Who, That, and the Nature of Bad Rules”
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