Thursday, October 27, 2005

Grammar in the advice columns

Here are a couple of grammar-related advice-column questions. (If Phillip Blanchard were here, he'd tell you the questions are probably made up.)

From Carolyn Hax:
My friends and colleagues are highly educated people who greatly value intelligence and professionalism. My girlfriend, however, habitually uses double negatives when she speaks, and comes across as being ignorant and of low intelligence. ... Is there a way to gently coach her about how others perceive her?
The answer: Live with it.

And then one from Dear Abby:
I type a lot of handwritten drafts for my computer-illiterate boss. While typing, I have noticed that the grammar he uses for in-house correspondence is less than stellar. I correct small mistakes where necessary, but I'm uncomfortable with changing sentence structure or reshaping paragraphs, although my boss's writing could benefit from it. ... Should I bother to correct his mistakes, aside from spelling and verb tense?
The answer: Ask permission, then correct away.


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