January 22, 2009

Will Faithfully Execute the Grammar Shibboleths

Whenever there's an article in the New York Times about grammar, it becomes one of the most e-mailed articles of the day. I conclude from this: the types of people who e-mail articles from the New York Times are also sticklers for grammar. This one takes the opposite approach, boldly dissing them:

Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. Nonetheless, they refuse to go away, perpetuated by the Gotcha! Gang and meekly obeyed by insecure writers.
I don't know what a shibboleth is, but I'm against them by default. Is it like a santorum saddleback? I also propose that "gotcha" be banned from the main stream media. The grammatical rule in question has something to do with placing an adverb in between infinitive markers & auxiliaries, (like "to boldly go" for Captain Kirk, or "I will always love" Dolly Parton, which would both be illegal). Apparently, Chief Justice Roberts is a grammar nazi, & in previous legal opinions has taken such extreme measures as expurgating the "ain't" from the Bob Dylan quote "When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose." Where they're going with this, was that Roberts was subconsciously correcting the constitution when he messed up the wording in Obama's constitutional oath, moving the "faithfully" around in "solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States." I would prefer to lean towards the conspiracy that aliens are preventing Obama from officially faithfully taking office.

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