Daily Archives: December 19, 2014

** Bad English by Ammon Shea

I love books about language, and Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the quotes from outraged grammarians, especially those who manage to contradict their dictums (dicta?), as well as the long lists of hated words from the past, which include such now completely accepted nouns as lunch and photo.

What I did not like so much is the recurring insistence that whatever is in usage is fine and that we should not worry our little heads with grammar (even if, often, it would help clear up why often-used turns of phrase are, in fact, incorrect). For instance, I don’t see why we would not be expected, as English speakers, to know what a restrictive cause is, and therefore be able to use which and that properly…




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