Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« Supplicating Colleges for a bit of diversity | Home | The Academic Blog Portal »

In re Say What You Mean

In a throwaway one-line post yesterday afternoon, I used the expression “the damn thing,” as in, “I created the whole damn thing because I was hoping we ‘d have grammar and vocabulary debates.”

I was referring to Power Line Forum, the booming nexus for live and interactive political commentary, which I had developed along with Peter Flaschner and John Hinderaker. A fun little thread about grammar—specifically, a debate over the use of the word “presently”—popped up at the forum, of which I made note here on Dartblog. But my note, deliciously enough, contained its own grammatical error. A reader writes:


I can’t suppress my desire to correct the grammar in your “say what you mean” post. I believe that “damn” is a verb, and that you meant to say you had created the whole “damned” thing.

Of course, one clever reply would be “frankly, my dear …,” as that would serve to illustrate the fact that “curse” words, base as they are, do not always follow rules of grammar (in Rhett’s case, “damn” was apparently a noun). [And should have been ‘damnation’. -jm] This principle is perhaps best exemplified by the well-worn phrase “f - - k you,” which, as far as I can tell, defies grammatical analysis. (I’m pretty sure, e.g., that the first word in that phrase is not a transitive verb, and it doesn’t really seem to be an imperative, either.)

Still, I can’t help but think that where rules of grammar can reasonably be applied, they should be. Thus, in my opinion, the word “damn” cannot be used as an adjective while “damned” is readily at hand.


Featured posts

  • 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…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




April 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30