28 May 2006

Recovering Grammer Snob

I just read June Casagrande's _Grammer Snobs Are Great Big Meanies_ (Penguin, 2006). It's a guide to avoiding common grammatical errors and to dealing with people who think they know more about the English language than they actually do.

The book is awesome: very helpful, and very, very funny. It's only about $14 retail, and worth every bit. I borrowed it from the library, but I'm going to buy a copy. (The book has a website at http://www.grammarsnobs.com/.)

Here are a few notes (to myself) that I jotted down while reading the book.

'correct' (perhaps not unanimously):
preventive (not preventative)
'entitled' for rights/privileges, 'titled' for the name of a book

The _Chicago Manual of Style_ (used for books) recommends using the Oxford comma. The _AP Stylebook_ (used for newspapers [and, arguably, blogs]) recommends omitting the Oxford comma. (The Oxford comma is the second comma in the following sentence: This blog is simultaneously pedagogical, pedantic, and pedestrian.)

Newspapers tend to use _Webster's New World College Dictionary_ (too bad for colleges of the old world), and books tend to use the _Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary_.

A screed is a long discourse. And a cool word.

Use 'which' for nonrestrictve clauses, and 'that' for restrictive clauses:
  1. This blog, which has a silly and misleading title, will be useful and/or interesting to a very small number of readers (on a good day).
  2. The _Best of Blondie_ CD that I bought last night is really bitchin'.
'prurient' means interesting (even lurid). 'purient' (to my dismay) does not appear to be a word at all. (I blame dog food manufacturers.)

1 comment:

John said...

Now I have to lookup (correct?) restrictive and non-restrictive clauses.