Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When is it Right to Be Wrong?

This article discusses the difference between literal correctness and awkwardess in writing. I happen to agree with the author of the piece - yes, even though the subject is singular, I think the plural pronoun is less awkward here. And I love the E.B. White quote at the end:"The ear must be quicker than the handbook."

So even though it is correct to say "May I ask when my article will be published," it sounds a bit cranky to me. So I subsitute "can" which literally means do I have the ability to ask the question rather than asking permission- but also sound more laid-back. We've used it wrong so often, it is starting to be right.