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I was reading this list of purportedly correct uses of the English language to which “pedants” routinely object. (That’s right: “To which.”) But when the writer started defending the phrase “near miss”, I just closed the browser window and went on my merry way.
UPDATE: By the bye, yes, there is a grammatical error in the Friday Book Corner blurbs I wrote. (Referenced here.) It was a simple mistake; I am not a hypocrite!
UPDATE: From the Inbox, I see that John Buckholz smartly sums up the trouble with many of these “wrongly wrong” points of grammar: “Sheer frequency of misuse does not excuse the error.” Most people are willing to admit that dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. But good grammar is a known quantity unaffected by the number of people who use it incorrectly, no matter how ancient or zealous their misuse.
John also provides this good response to the writer’s use of Winston Churchill’s famous rail (“This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”) against the terminating preposition rule:
Ending a sentence with a preposition IS improper in formal English. It is acceptable to say, “This is the sort of English I won’t put up with” in casual conversation. But one of our language’s virtues is the ready availability of synonyms. To avoid the Churchillian construction, one would write: “This is the sort of English I will not tolerate.” This should be obvious; “put up with” is a colloquialism itself, and should not be used in formal writing.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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