The Compulsive Copyeditor

August 23, 2015

For true grammar nerds only

Filed under: grammar — amba12 @ 2:16 pm

This grammar article (an example of what we might call “demotic snobbery”) is not only gracelessly written itself (shame on JStor, a scholarly archive); it takes on the straw men of stuffy grammar “rules” that have long since fallen (the august Chicago Manual of Style gives its approval to the judicious, natural use of split infinitives and prepositions ending sentences); and, it fails to make the key distinction between SPEAKING and WRITING. We do not observe the same rules in speaking as in writing, nor should we. The critically endangered rule on dangling participles and dangling appositives — avoid them, because they are literally misleading — does not apply to speech because in speaking, you never even get there. Who ever uses an appositive or participial phrase in speech?! It’s a formality of writing to begin with, and one that is designed to lay out thought with an unambiguous precision and clarity that is particular to writing. Why do people who themselves are WRITING write only about SPEAKING?! /rant

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