Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Unwritten Laws

I thought this was pretty interesting: there are rules that aren't really taught to native speakers of English, but are known anyway. By absorption, I guess.

Having done a lot of reading and writing in my time, some of it for that purest of reasons (the pursuit of filthy lucre), I'm quite uncomfortably familiar with the notion of Ruth Walker's title: "Rules no one teaches but everyone learns." Familiar because that's the way of it, really. Uncomfortable because I want to know more of the rules, the theory, the structure. My ambition is to take a side in The Great Adverb War. blog it.

Literally and Metaphorically

It has come to our attention that there exists a blog with the unlikely name of "Literally: A Weblog." It describes itself in its subtitle as "An English grammar blog tracking abuse of the word 'literally.'" An unlikely mission as well.

Ceely's Modern Usage approves (in fact, it's blogrolled here). We're just afraid to discover a blog tracking misuse of "hopefully..."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"All Your Lives Are Belong To Us"

A post by Andrew Stuttaford the other day brought this John Edwards quote to my attention:

One of the things we ought to be thinking about is some level of mandatory service to our country, so that everybody in America _ not just the poor kids who get sent to war _ are serving this country...

So this John Edwards, a lawyer, believes "everybody in America are serving this country" to be acceptable grammar. Hmm. Ceely's Modern Usage does not agree.

Furthermore, we find such statism particularly offensive on this observation of Memorial Day, and hereby declare our anti-endorsement of John Edwards.

Finally, a Ceely's Modern Usage Fearless Political Prediction: John Edwards will never be the President of the United States of America. Everybody here are quite sure of that.