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Friday, October 12, 2007

We make all of our suns the same. Everyone will suffer the fire we've made.

Today's episode of Little Miss Know-it-All: Take your time. Wait for the dark of night.

(Okay, so I'm just having fun with the fetishists now.)

Today's episode is about our favourite would-be grammarian, Russell Smith. Russell is still trying to convince people that he actually knows something about the English language. His latest column does not disappoint. A reader sent it to me at work on Thursday, possibly to test a hypothesis involving the explosion of my head.

In typical form, Russell begins by explaining that he is super awesome and quickly moves into a discussion about how some part of the English language bores the hell out of him. Today it's hyphens, but tomorrow it'll be capitalization or the meaning of the word "that". You see, Russell is a grammarian for the common man. He has explanatory passages marked in reference books. Apparently, while he was reading these books, he missed the explanatory passages about semicolon usage, but now I'm getting distracted.

Russell does not worry about vagaries, and has declared hyphens "not grammar". Well, this is really quite helpful. The next time I'm confused about the English language -- perhaps the use of question marks in declarative sentences -- I will simply proclaim that it is not grammar. That way, I can make as many stupid errors as I want while looking down my nose at anyone who would dare to criticise me.

I don't follow Russell's columns closely enough to be able to say this with any degree of accuracy, but I am willing to bet twenty dollars that he has recently misused a hyphen in print and that a reader pointed out the error. It is the only possible explanation when a so-called (note hyphen) grammar expert suddenly claims that hyphens are silly. And when the "expert" is Russell, betting on a grammatical error is a sure thing.


Dad said...

Good grammar is art, not science.

Say: how about working on changing "ice cream" to
"iced cream"? Would that be logical, and more dramatic?

And, while we're improving: how can I change the "dad" at the head of this message to "Dad?

Megan said...

"Iced cream" would indeed be logical, but the English language is not particularly logical. This war on hyphens seems unusually self-serving to me, but remember that this is Russell we're talking about.

For some reason, Blogger publishes all comments under names written in lower-case letters. I don't understand it, myself. We may find a clue in the fact that this is the same company that thinks I had "1 comments" on this post.

A. said...

People get paid to write such trivial stuff?

Anonymous said...

You can correct Blogger's poor grammar somewhere in settings. I changed mine to "complaint(s)."