Featured Post

Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Curmudgeon

It would seem that there is a segment of the instructors/professors in English grammar who wish to dispense with a number of grammatical rules. I find this a bit extreme. Practically all, if not all, rules may be ignored in some instances. This does not warrant dispensing with the rules. Some rules may require a bit of creative thinking to create the same mood that the writer feels is necessary to create by abandoning the rule. Indeed, this "kill the rules" tendency might be seen as intellectual laziness, but I almost hesitate to identify it as such.

I shall hunker down and await the outrage of the progressive professional grammarians who, in the extreme, would unwittingly reduce the language to a level of "Dick and Jane" stories.
This comment, posted on bog entry by Pullum at the CHE site, illustrates the typical whining of someone who thinks he knows something about "grammar" or "rules." Note the stiff, unidiomatic quality of the language, the fussy, overcautious, hedging tone. He wants to preserve some stylistic values, but can barely express his ideas with clarity: "Some rules may require a bit of creative thinking to create the same mood that the writer feels is necessary to create by abandoning the rule." What does that mean? If it isn't a "rule" in the first place, then all this fussiness is pointless.

2 comments:

profacero said...

Obliquely related: when did it become de rigueur for books to have introductions that are plodding summaries of each chapter (as though a prospectus, written for other purposes, had been pasted in at the front of the book)? In this age of wanting to save paper and ink, why can we not just start with chapter 1?

Jonathan said...

That could be just a lazy, plodding approach by someone who doesn't know any better.