It’s a Double-Edged Sword

Writing a blog about grammar and punctuation, I would be considered, by some, to be an expert on these subjects. In fact, two or three colleagues I know from on-line social networking groups, have said that if you want to become an expert, write a book, a podcast, or a blog. Therefore, it is imperative that I check to make sure my grammar is correct, as well as my spelling and punctuation are flawless.

In her book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss presents herself as being the be-all, end-all expert on grammar, and she does so with just a hint of British snobbery about Americans. So why, I ask you, does she still insist on ending an occasional sentence with a preposition?

Now, granted, my grammar isn’t always pristine, even in writing; in speech it’s worse. (You’re more likely to hear me say, “Where y’ all from,” ending my sentence with a preposition than are to see me write “Where y’ all work at?”) Speech is a different entity. Can you imagine hearing your neighbor yell, “Harry, at what are you barking?” I have tried to say just that line, but it comes out of my mouth with a very highbrow English accent sounding like I’m from Queen Elizabeth II’s court and I were asking for scones with my tea!

So here’s Lynne Truss and her incredibly insightful, well thought-out book, making her an expert, and she commits the same heinous errors for which she is chastising the American people!

One other characteristic I have trouble ignoring from Eats… is her use of the word “lot.” An English professor of mine told the class that, “A lot is where your house sits or where you buy a used car.” Therefore, I always thought it was not an amount of anything. And I have corrected many people, most of whom are more well-respected than I, in public, about their usage of a lot. Wasn’t he in the Bible?

However, I was deeply saddened when I looked up the word lot on Miriam-Webster online dictionary and found that I was, indeed, correct about lot’s appropriate uses until I came to the very last entry of the word.

7 : a considerable quantity or extent <a lot of money> <lots of friends>

But, alas, lots of people only read the first one or two of the definitions, and therefore never will actually see that lot is becoming acceptable as a unit of measure.

I presume lots of people have already clicked on some other page, so I will end in saying only this: Lynne Truss is inspirational to me for no other reason than to make me realize it’s okay to be a “stickler,” as she says, about grammar. Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a very well researched and well thought-out book and extremely enjoyable to lots of people who are uptight about grammar and punctuation.

How ’bout it?

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2 Comments on “It’s a Double-Edged Sword”

  1. John Says:

    There is nothing wrong with putting the preposition at the end of the clause. It’s a normal part of English. John Dryden didn’t like stranded prepositions, and that seems to be where the prescription originated. However, it was Dryden’s opinion, not a rule.

  2. 290154687607 Says:

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