the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

strunk and white

In english major humor on May 28, 2009 at 6:48 pm

…are hilarious. Elements of Style is now fifty years old, and though some of the passages are undeniably dated (/misogynist/hopelessly elitist), you get the feeling that unwitting college freshmen will continue to be force fed this little book (as I was), as spinach is stuffed into kids’ faces, for a long time to come. Yet, these future students will realize, as I have, when rereading S&W, the ridiculousness of grammar is nothing compared to the unfortunate hilarity of misused language. some samples:

wrong: the taming of the shrew is rather weak in spots. shakespeare does not portray katherine as a very admirable character, nor does bianca remain long in memory as an important character in Shakespeare’s works. right: the women in the taming of the shrew are unattractive. katharine is disagreeable, bianca insignificant.

nauseous vs. nauseated : the first means “sickening to contemplate”; the second means “sick at the stomach.” do not, therefore, say, “i feel nauseous,” unless you are sure you have that effect on others.

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