Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Topic: Usage.

10-Second Review: A review of prescriptive usage in America and increasing dissatisfaction with it.

Title: “Correct Usage Is Often A Judgment Call.” John McIntyre. The Writer (September 2008), 15-16. The Writer is a publication that encourages writers to continue writing.

Summary: The title is the best summary of the article. Rails against criticism of split infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions and beginning sentences with coordinate conjunctions like “And” and “But” as superficial problems of usage. “…linguists might be persuaded to give some practical help to those of us who, rather than indulging in peevish ranting, are trying to achieve clarity of prose and reasonable practices of grammar and usage in newspapers, magazines, books and electronic publications.” p. 16.

Comment: In my blog, “Q & A on Writing,” (, I talk about the reasons for worrying about correct usage and punctuation: distractibility, i.e., from the writer’s meaning. I rate each usage or punctuation item at one of three levels: “Who cares?”= (*). “Some people will be distracted from your meaning”: = (**). “Many people will be distracted from your meaning”: = (***). RayS.

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in recent American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

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