Remember Churchill’s famous self-amendment when challenged about ending a sentence with a presposition? “Up with which we will not put?” Sounds silly? It is. English is not a dead language. Render thoughts in workable English, saving the contorted constructions promoted by grammar Nazis for appropriate occasions, like broadsides for Mensa meetings. What prompted this? A subtitle in TheWeek.com: The liberal industry is pumping religion on a scale of which televangelists could only dream. Silly, right? Why not: “on a scale that televangelists could only dream of?” Because some idiot teacher beholden to Strunk & White, who codified their own rules, hovers in memory. Be free! Those rules you absorbed in grammar school are neither fixed nor right. English should sound speakable. It should be alive.
Ellen Akins is the author of the novels Home Movie, Little Woman, Public Life, and Hometown Brew, and the short story collection World Like a Knife. She has published short stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, and The Southwest Review, which (the last two) awarded her their biennial short fiction awards. Read more
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