Tag: Jan Freeman

October 24, 2019

The “Only” Comma, pt. 1

A little while ago, one of my coworkers came to me with a conundrum. She had come across a sentence like “Ryan founded the company with his brother Scott” in something she was editing, and she couldn’t figure out if “brother” should be followed by a comma. She’d already spent quite a bit of time […]

SHARE:
Pragmatics, Punctuation 8 Replies to “The “Only” Comma, pt. 1”
May 19, 2017

For Whomever the Bell Tolls

A couple of weeks ago, Ben Yagoda wrote a post on Lingua Franca in which he confessed to being a whomever scold. He took a few newspapers to task for messing up and using whomever where whoever was actually called for, and then he was taken to task himself by Jan Freeman. He said that […]

SHARE:
Grammar, Usage 5 Replies to “For Whomever the Bell Tolls”
December 9, 2016

Prescriptivism and Language Change

Recently, John McIntyre posted a video in which he defended the unetymological use of decimate to the Baltimore Sun’s Facebook page. When he shared it to his own Facebook page, a lively discussion ensued, including this comment: Putting aside all the straw men, the ad absurdums, the ad hominems and the just plain sillies, answer […]

SHARE:
Usage, Words 6 Replies to “Prescriptivism and Language Change”
June 6, 2016

Book Review: Perfect English Grammar

Disclosure: I received a free review PDF of this book from Callisto Media. Grant Barrett, cohost of the public radio program A Way with Words, recently published a book called Perfect English Grammar: The Indispensable Guide to Excellent Writing and Speaking. In it, Barrett sets out to help writers like himself who may not have […]

SHARE:
Book Reviews One Reply to “Book Review: Perfect English Grammar
February 11, 2015

Why Is It “Woe Is Me”?

I recently received an email asking about the expression woe is me, namely what the plural would be and why it’s not woe am I. Though the phrase may strike modern speakers as bizarre if not downright ungrammatical, there’s actually a fairly straightforward explanation: it’s an archaic dative expression. Strange as it may seem, the […]

SHARE:
Grammar, Usage 32 Replies to “Why Is It “Woe Is Me”?”
November 18, 2013

12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes

There are a lot of bad grammar posts in the world. These days, anyone with a blog and a bunch of pet peeves can crank out a click-bait listicle of supposed grammar errors. There’s just one problem—these articles are often full of mistakes of one sort or another themselves. Once you’ve read a few, you […]

SHARE:
Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage 162 Replies to “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes”
June 4, 2012

What Descriptivism Is and Isn’t

A few weeks ago, the New Yorker published what is nominally a review of Henry Hitchings’ book The Language Wars (which I still have not read but have been meaning to) but which was really more of a thinly veiled attack on what its author, Joan Acocella, sees as the moral and intellectual failings of […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 9 Replies to “What Descriptivism Is and Isn’t”
March 24, 2010

Scriptivists Revisited

Before I begin: I know—it’s been a terribly, horribly, unforgivably long time since my last post. Part of it is that I’m often busy with grad school and work and family, and part of it is that I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about prescriptivism and descriptivism and linguists and editors and don’t really […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 7 Replies to “Scriptivists Revisited”
You are here: Page 1
%d bloggers like this: