Ten Grammar "Mistakes" People Love to Correct (That Aren't Actually Wrong)



If you're one of those people who goes around correcting the grammar, spelling and word usage of others, take heed: you may want to double-check those "hard and fast" rules. Author Lauren Davis wrote an article for i09 in which she discusses ten often corrected "mistakes" that are subjective at worst. Let's take ending a sentence with a preposition, for example. Davis has this to say about that grammatical situation,

"There's a cheeky sentence on the matter that is frequently (and apocryphally) attributed to Winston Churchill: "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put." Soanes offers four examples of when it is perfectly alright (and perhaps even preferable) to end one's sentence with a preposition:

-passive structures (she enjoys being fussed over)
-relative clauses (they must be convinced of the commitment that they are taking on)
-infinitive structures (Tom had no-one to play with)
-questions beginning with who, where, what, etc. (what music are you interested in?)

Fogarty adds that the one case in which you want to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, at least in formal writing, is when the meaning of the sentence doesn't change when you drop the preposition, e.g. "Where are you going?" instead of "Where are you going to?" But in informal spoken English, you will see such phrases, especially in certain dialects."

Here you have it: an apocryphal graphic quotation at top and some schooling underneath.  Read the rest of Davis' article here.


-Via i09 | Image: Lifehack Quotes


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While listening to the Judge John Hogeman podcast, I learned the notion that a preposition cannot end a sentence is more of a convention than a rule. This convention was introduced by 17th century Latin enthusiasts and then taught for hundreds of years to unsuspecting schoolchildren.

http://www.maximumfun.org/judge-john-hodgman/judge-john-hodgman-episode-142-department-corrections%20

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/11/grammar-myths-prepositions/
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Regarding #3 at the link: I never cared one way or another whether someone said "more than 100" vs. "over 100." But it used to drive me nuts reading ad copy and seeing "Over 21 items on sale!" What does that mean? 22 items? It's just silly. "Over" or "more than" makes sense when followed by a big round number like 100 or 1000, but if you get more specific than that, you may as well get specific and exact.
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This reminds me of a very old joke. A Texan goes to Harvard and is walking on the green when he comes upon a group of preppies. He says: "Excuse me, but could y'all tell me where the library is at?" One preppy sneeringly responds by saying: "We, here at Harvard, never end a sentence with a preposition." To which the Texan says: "Well, excuse me! Could y'all tell me where the library is at, A-Hole?"
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It's my language - and I'll use it however I please, thanks. If I choose to bend or break the "rules" to achieve a particular effect then I will.
Language is there to convey information - whether factual or emotional or any other sort. If it succeeds in doing that, then it's...er...succeeded.
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