For my copy editing students
“We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M.”
—National Grammar Day, 1980 Image: from J. Martyn Walsh and Anna Kathleen Walsh, Plain English Handbook, Wichita, Kansas, 1946
• Editorial Comment: There’s nausea, and nightmares, and nosebleeds. And let’s not even start on the O.
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.)
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard