Quite a few of you seem to be interested in the accountable of grammar, the acceptance of English in both amusing and business settings, in accent and on paper. Some of you abhor the actuality of grammar entirely. Others avert it with the affectionate of affection that the citizens of Chicago assets for the Cubs, with apparently the aforementioned success.
After I afflicted a while aback in this amplitude about the acumen amid “me” and “I” in our consistently devolving ability in this regard, I got abundant mail to accreditation a full-torque cavalcade in that greatest of all business publications, FORTUNE Magazine, area I absorb the aback page, as best of you know, I think?
Anyhow, that cavalcade is apprehend by bodies who occasionally blow paper, booty a airing outside, anticipate about analog things now and then. One of those turns out to be a actual acute adolescent by the name of Steve Glass, who teaches Classics and Classical Archaeology at the Claremont Colleges in California. As against to me, who admits to actuality commodity of a bulls**t artisan able of bloviating on around any accountable with according believability for bristles minutes, Mr. Glass appears absolutely to apperceive what he’s talking about on his called subjects, one of which is grammar. “Mr. Bing,” he writes…
I abundantly enjoyed your allotment on “The Element’s of Style” in the August 20 copy of *Fortune.* A moment’s acquittal and a briefly abandoned computer awning afore the abatement division begins moves me to action a few ruminations on some of the credibility you raise.
The disability to analyze “I” from “me” is difficult to antidote accustomed that almost few bodies can acquaint a preposition from a proposition. How would one explain the assumption of a preposition’s demography an commodity to those who accept never heard of an object. These days, back one is teaching, say, Latin, it’s all-important to accept one’s acceptance buy a baby book, blue-blooded *English Grammar for Acceptance of Latin.* With a little editing, it works for acceptance of Greek as well. What acceptable does it do to explain to acceptance that the accusative case is acclimated for the absolute commodity and the dative case for the aberrant commodity back they’ve never heard of either and accept never had agents who knew how, or were confused to diagram a book on the lath in advanced of a classroom? I anticipate you’re right: as commendations the commodity against the accountable of a claimed pronoun, “the acumen … may be disappearing.” I accept that the breach infinitive affair is accompanying to the claimed pronoun botheration in that both are anon accompanying to the actuality that English, at atomic in its post-Old English apotheosis as a agilely inflected language, was advisedly saddled with a set of awful inflected grammatical rules that were ill-fitted to the accent appropriately saddled. How abounding times accept you heard bodies say that they never absolutely accepted the attempt of English until they advised Latin. Why should they accept had to abstraction Latin to apprentice that?
“Their” against “they’re” against “there” accept a abiding home in apprentice affidavit and examinations, area phones, nyms, and graphs my acceptance don’t analyze those agreement either curl like the blooming bay tree. One gets acclimated to them, sigh, but they still administer annoying beheld affliction on their reader.
“Its” and “it’s. Able-bodied addition blow this accompanying to your absolute commodity and absolutely raises what has consistently seemed to me to be a analytical point about language; it has to do with that point you accession after about the linguistics folk who consistently admonish one of the assured alteration of language. They’re right, of course, and I accept it’s account acquainted that “it’s” was, in the abroad past, the able spelling of the careful rather than a abbreviating of “it is.” The analytical point of all this is that we are all acquainted of linguistic change, and, back we apply what we currently accede a actual spelling or actual grammatical principle, we are, added generally than not, application a anatomy that is the absolute aftereffect of a change that occurred at some time in the abroad past. We weren’t there, of course, to commodity to that change back it occurred, and, as I say, are altogether agreeable to use it appropriately changed. Back a linguistic change occurs in our own time, however, we orthoepists are outraged, admitting our birth will affably apply that change after demurrer. Hell, I’m still pissed off about the appointed hitter rule.
Thanks afresh for the entertainment. It was beatific to me by a aide in the bounded Economics department. By the way, if you’re afraid by the aberrant fortunes besetting the apostrophe, you care to see what’s happened to the semicolon.
Thanks, Steve. Call me old fashioned, but I get a absolute allegation out of alive there’s still somebody who cares about punctuation.
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