chapter 2 correctness
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- 1. Correctness
- 2. Question of Obedience, Not Choice
- 3. Real rules
- 4. Basis of Authority?
Standard forms of language originate in accidents of geography and economic power.
Aye what are saeguid yourself
Is not standard because Edinburgh was not the power center.
- 6. Correctness as Unpredictability
- 7. Im here, amnt I?
- 8. Three Kinds of Rules
- 9. Real Rules
Real rules define what makes English /English
ARTICLES must precede nouns: the book
- 10. Social Rules
Social rules distinguish Standard English from nonstandard:
He dont have no money
He doesnt have any money
- 11. Real, Social or Invented?
- 12. Real, Social or Invented?
- 13. Real, Social or Invented?
- 14. Invented Rules
Dont split an infinitive
Dont end a sentence with a preposition
Dont use hopefully for I hope.
Dont use which for that
- 15. Observing Rules Thoughtfully
But if you try to obey all the rules all the time, you risk becoming so obsessed with rules that you tie yourself in knots. And sooner or later; you will impose those rulesreal or noton others.
- 16. Two Kinds of Invented Rules
- 17. Folklore
The rules that most careful readers and writers ignore.
Dont begin sentences with and or but.
Some insecure writers also think they should not begin a sentence with because.
- 18. Quick Tip: Because
When a because-clause introduces new information, as it usually does, it should not begin a sentence, but end it. But if the information is familiar, you should start the sentence with since rather than because. This is a question of style and not of rule.
- 19. Folklore
Use the RELATIVE pronoun thatnot whichfor restrictive clauses.
The rule is relatively new (1906). Francis Fowlers The Kings English (Oxford University Press).
- 20. Use fewer with nouns you count, less with nouns you cannot.
No one uses fewer with mass nouns (fewer dirt) but educated writers often use less with countable plural nouns (less resources).
- 21. Use fewer and less in a sentence to describe the image below:
- 22. Folklore
Use since and while to refer only to time, not to mean because or although.
Since asbestos is dangerous, it should be removed carefully.
While we agree on a date, we disagree about the place.
- 23. Heres the Point
If writers whom we judge to be competent regularly violate some alleged rule and most careful readers never notice, then the rule has no force. In those cases, it is not writers who should change their usage, but grammarians who should change their rules.
- 24. Elegant Options
These are rules that complement real rules but ones that no one notices when they are broken. They notice when they are followed because they sound self-consciously formal.
- 25. Dont split an infinitive.
They wanted to slightly conceal the fact.
They wanted to conceal slightly the fact.
- 26. Use whom as the object of a verb or preposition.
William Zinsser from Yale:
Soon after you confront the matter of preserving your identity, another question will occur to you, Who am I writing for?
For whom am I writing?
- 27. Use a singular verb with none and any
None of the reasons are sufficient.
None of the reasons is sufficient.
- 28. Elegant Options
Under close scrutiny observe the rules. Ordinarily, they are ignored by careful writers, which is to say they are not rules at all but stylistic choices that create a slightly formal tone.
- 29. Ralph Waldo Emerson: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
- 30. Hobgloblins
Rules that for no apparent reason are zealously abused. Breaking these rules will not interfere with clarity or concision
- 31. Never use like for as or as if
These operations failed like the earlier ones did.
These operations failed as the earlier ones did.
- 32. Dont use hopefully to mean I hope
Hopefully, it will not rain.
I hope it will not rain.
William Safire is quoted as saying: "The word 'hopefully' has become the litmus test to determine whether one is a language snob or a language slob."
- 33. William Safire: "After a while, words come to mean what most people think they mean, not what we say they ought to mean."
That's why he abandoned his objections to the use of verbal in place of oral, and alarmed traditionalists by accepting the use of hopefully as a sentence adverb, as in "Hopefully the war will end soon." He didn't take any satisfaction in seeing himself as part of the lonely and embattled minority of We Who Know Better. For Safire, usage standards had to ultimately rest on a broad educated consensus, part of the common understanding that makes public discourse possible.
- 34. William Safire
Safire, for his part, saw signs of life everywhere. I welcome new words, or old words used in new ways, he wrote, provided the result is more precision, added color or greater expressiveness.
If you dont give a hootenkack for a pinkletink, youre insensitive to the color and excitement in our migrating, changing language Safire.
- 35. The hopefully rule
Came about mid 20th century and has no basis in logic, grammar or parallel usage of words like frankly, sadly, candidly, happily.
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