English Rules That Even The Grammar Nazis Got Wrong

Don't let the grammar Nazis get you down! If they've corrected you for misusing that for whom, starting a sentence with and, but and however, or gasp - the sin of "verbing" - fight back!

Jan Freeman of Throw Grammar from the Train blog has a nifty post over at Boston about English language rules that even the grammar Nazis got wrong. For example:

The girl that I marry. No, it doesn’t have to be whom I marry. “People that has always been good English,” notes Bryan Garner in Garner’s Modern American Usage, “and it’s a silly fetish to insist that who is the only relative pronoun that can refer to humans.” Choose who if you like, but to claim that using that “makes a person seem less human,” as Mignon Fogarty suggested in a Grammar Girl podcast — that’s just looking for trouble.

Since you asked. It’s totally legit to use since for because, unless it would cause ambiguity. Since has had its causal sense, as well as its temporal sense, from the beginning.


Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I notice that Boston.com has now changed their Globe photo illustration to show a book whose cover reads "Grammar" rather than the previous "Grammer" - suggesting that the initial error was perhaps not intentional. Sad/scary.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I believe he is trying to say that you can begin a sentence with "People that..." or with "People whom...". You con't have to associate a form of who with humans.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Email This Post to a Friend
"English Rules That Even The Grammar Nazis Got Wrong"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More