Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Un-Grammar Lesson

An attorney at a hearing I testified at today made a statement, then reworded it swiftly to get the preposition off the end of the sentence. He chuckled, looked at me and asked "Is that correct?" I assured him that either was correct, and that the rules are different now. He asked later what I meant by that, and I couldn't find the words for my thought for about a minute. I settled on something like this:

"Compromising clarity of speech for the sake of a suspect rule is now considered pedantic rather than correct."


"Don't end with a preposition" was a rule artificially imposed on English anyway, and has caused much infelicity. Vestiges of it will hang on for a century, but you may stop worrying about it anymore.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but some of us really LIKE being pedantic...

---BubbaB

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Amen, brother

Wyman said...

Not to worry, pops. They didn't even teach me what preposition was when I went to school.

At least, I think they didn't.

Jonathan Wyman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jonathan Wyman said...

I've actually been intentionally finishing sentences with prepositions for about 3 months now, in the hopes that a pedant will call me on it, and I can have a grammar argument.

Francis W. Porretto said...

"That is a species of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put!" -- Winston Churchill, upon being reprimanded by a civil servant for ending a sentence with a preposition.

"What did you bring that book I don't want to be read to out of up for?" -- an unnamed prepubescent female, clearly determined to test the limits of the newly relaxed rules, to her father.