Topic : Grammar
Grammatical Diversity in American English
July 27, 2011
A fascinating new site has been launched by linguists at Yale University: "Yale Grammatical Diversity Project: English in North America." The site documents "the subtle, but systematic, differences in the syntax of English varieties." If you want to know where people say "The car needs washed" or "I might could go," check out the site here.
"Chicago stretches along the shore of Lake Michigan, which makes a beautiful shore drive possible." This sentence has a problem with pronoun-antecedent agreement: which is vague; its antecedent (the noun the pronoun stands for) is unclear. Today, we'll review some basics of pronoun-antecedent agreement and find out why agreement is so important. Continue reading...
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
May 31, 2011By Neal Whitman
What would graduation season be without complaints about the misuse of the verb graduate? Usage guides these days warn against using graduate as a transitive verb, as in "She graduated college," or "He never graduated high school." The standard phrasing uses the preposition from: "She graduated from college"; "He never graduated from high school." Continue reading...
One of the great pleasures of Twitter is @FakeAPStylebook, which sends up the Associated Press Stylebook with hilariously terrible writing tips. Now the masterminds behind the tweets, known as The Bureau Chiefs, have a whole book of phony style advice: Write More Good. Here we present an excerpt adapted from their chapter on punctuation and grammar. Proceed with caution. Continue reading...
A new rant in Salon by Kim Brooks complains, "My college students don't understand commas, far less how to write an essay," and asks the perennial question, "Is it time to rethink how we teach?"While it's always time to rethink how we teach, teaching commas won't help. Continue reading...
Our old friend John E. McIntyre, longtime copy editor for the Baltimore Sun, has some pointed words on the craft of writing.If you rummage around the Internet with a search along the lines of "college students can't write," you'll find that the "why Johnny can't write" jeremiad has a long history. Continue reading...
Different From, Than, or To?
April 27, 2011