Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Out of Style

Yes, I'm one of those folks shocked to learn that split infinitives do not constitute a grammatical weapon of mass destruction. I'm also coming to grips with the fact that my zealous distaste for passive voice might be a little . . . excessive. And the notion that untamed adverbs are evil all the time? Well, maybe not always. That said, I continue to critique prose that wilts from indecision or general sloppiness, and I often find the cause of these problems nested among these two latter sins.

Yet I could not help but be impressed with Geoffrey K. Pullum's hurl of vitriol upon one inspiration for my notions of compositional correctness: The Elements of Style. Published (commercially) 50 years ago this week, Elements has long marked a safe recommendation for students seeking to improve their writing. The book earns at least a thoughtful head-nod among self-styled writing experts. We've all heard of Elements. Some of us have even read it!

But few have torn into the book with Pullum's fury.

Read on: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

1 comment:

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