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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 2, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    The weekend, and things resulting therefrom

    Fiona McCann

    Well, there’s the Impact longlist published, and with 156 titles on it, it’s hard to know why they bothered. Eileen Battersby gives her summation of the lot here, though I think I’ll wait till the shortlist appears myself. Meanwhile, there’s my interview with Marsha Hunt, whose show Brown Sugar on Jimi Hendrix opens tonight, and here‘s something delicious from Salon on grammatical rules and pinning down language. “The only truly unbreakable rules of grammar and usage are the ones that, when broken, result in a genuine failure to communicate. The rest is a form of covert class warfare, and today’s usage reproofs constitute a status-protecting thump on the head delivered by the upper middle class to uppity members of the lower middle.” What do youse reckon?

    • Annie says:

      I used to be a real grammar Nazi until I realised how insanely dull and annoying I had become. Now I take good care of my own grammar and everybody else can do what the hell they like.

      Well, except the BBC of course. I never let them get away with stray comma. Oh no! There is a special place in their inbox for me.

    • mise says:

      Salon’s stance is true to the spirit of H.W. Fowler, who refused to let pedantic grammatical niceties and the archaisms and convolutions of the English of his time stand in the way of clarity.

    • Annie says:

      e.e. cummings always did alright too

    • Fiona says:

      Annie: I too was once a grammar fascist. But I’ve always been a fan of messing with it too, to reflect colloquialisms and the like. Too right about the BBC, though. And it’s easy for poets – they’ve got that special license, you know.

      Mise: Clarity – also not always high on the poet’s agenda, though he/she might argue otherwise.


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