Sunday, October 31, 2004

May you never pause

In his language column this week, James Kilpatrick covers constructions that give readers pause -- and how to avoid them.

He touches on one of my pet peeves, using "while" to mean "although." I agree that readers pause (at least I do) with "while," expecting some sort of time element to be involved. Consider: While the girls flock to the clubs, the women stay home knitting. Is "while" setting up a point of difference here, or is it pointing out that these events happen at the same time?

Kilpatrick also gets a mention of John Bremner in while discussing "any more" and "anymore."
The adverb "anymore" was coined in the 14th century. Should we put "anymore" to work today as one word or two? The gurus at Merriam-Webster say the one-word spelling is more common, especially in negative and interrogative constructions: "We never go there anymore." "Do you eat broccoli anymore?" The late John Bremner, journalism professor at the University of Kansas, felt strongly au contraire. ... Especially in negative constructions he insisted on two words: "Annie doesn't live here any more."
And have a drink Monday to toast Kilpatrick's birthday. He turns 84.


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