December 03, 2005

We Get Mail

I feel like I'm back in elementary school again:

Dear Mr. Djerijian: I always cut bloggers some slack about their writing, because I know they're pounding out lots of words in a very short time. But I hope you don't mind a brief word of constructive criticism. Your writing in general is fine, but you have fallen into a chronic error that you could easily avoid. The fact that more and more people are making this mistake doesn't excuse it. It's this: the term should be "couple OF [something]," not "couple [something]." You make this mistake fairly often. For example, in your recent post defending Scowcroft, you wrote ". . . based on a couple really lame quotes ... " That should be "based on a couple OF really lame quotes." When you leave out the "of," you sound like a half-literate teenager, in my opinion. I am a professional writer and editor. It really grates and seems especially odd since, as I said earlier, your writing is generally fine. Nothing personal. In fact, if I didn't find your blog worth reading, I wouldn't spend time bringing this error to your attention. Yours for maintaining our English grammar in some semblance of health,

Fryar Calhoun

I actually get a decent amount of this kind of mail from the grammar police every now and again. I don't mind it, and the feedback is more than welcome, indeed appreciated (though I'd ask that the Calhouns of the world at least take the time to get the spelling of my surname right when castigating me for my grammatical shortcomings!). Still, we feel duly admonished over here, and we'll do our utmost going forward to stay above 'semi-literate teenager' status whenever we can. Based on a couple (of!) other E-mails, the time has indeed come to pay better attention to these sorts of issues chez B.D....

Posted by Gregory at December 3, 2005 02:14 PM | TrackBack (0)

You're lucky! I wish some-one would grammar-check my prose. Apart from anything else, it would remind me of all those rules, long forgotten, and then I could banish forever the shade of Miss. Wood, Eng lang. and lit., circa 1950-55, who hovers over my shoulder as I type, eyes glittering and lips pursed!

Posted by: David Duff at December 3, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Apropos of this post, Greg: precipitate. The word is precipitate.

Posted by: JEB at December 3, 2005 06:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

A spell checker would be helpful. Is it possible??


Posted by: Michael Pecherer at December 3, 2005 07:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Though it should be noted that a spell checker wouldn't have caught the error pointed out by Calhoun.

Posted by: Eric Martin at December 3, 2005 07:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So compose your comments in some really nannying software like MS Word, with full grammar, style, and spelling checking turned on, then cut-and-paste.

Or learn to live with variety...

Posted by: John Burgess at December 4, 2005 04:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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