Monday, April 13, 2009

debunking Strunk & White

If you are of a certain age, you may have a well-thumbed edition of Strunk & White's Elements of Style on your book shelf.  And perhaps, after filing your taxes on April 15th, you were planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this handy little tome on April 16th.  Not so fast, says Geoffrey Pullum in 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice, just published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

hat tip:  Prof. John Edwards, Drake University

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Pullum's primary argument appears to be that S & W does not appreciate or promote the nuances of creative writing. I suggest that is HIS job, not a rule book's job. My advice to students: learn the rules first. Then, if you see a good reason for taking liberty with them, go for it.

Pullum's article exemplifies how one can get published by swimming against long-established popular beliefs. But that doesn't make the article credible, or even worth reading.

Posted by: Pamela | Apr 14, 2009 6:09:05 AM

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