My love for words and my zero-tolerance approach to grammar and punctuation earned me a nickname early in life:� The Walking Dictionary.� My vocabulary really isn’t as expansive as the nickname might imply; I simply share this information with you as a way of confessing my obsession with the English language.� Various friends, family, and teachers can (and will) attest to my rigorism:� my Uncle San and I can spend hours lamenting the decline of proper English education; my mother likes to tell the story of the night I literally cried for hours over one particular writing assignment, fearing failure;� if I had a dollar for every page of text�I’ve proof-read or edited for friends, family, and co-workers, I could probably pay rent for a month; most of my friends refuse to play any word-related game with me (MadGab, Scrabble, et cetera); and my friend Adam, who often proof-read many of my writing assignments in college, will tell you of my passionate love affair with the em dash.� Despite my upbringing by a mother who emphasized love and kindness, a father who insisted I read How to Win Friends and Influence People (twice!), and two well-mannered grandmothers who make Emily Post and Miss Manners seem like Courtney Love and Britney Spears, I’ve still managed to annoy, alienate, and anger friends, family, significant others and even total strangers with my relentless pursuit of precise English.� I may be a tad crazy, but I am not alone; there are others out there who, like me, believe that spelling, grammar, punctuation, precision and clarity�are important.� I devoured Lynn Truss’ Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, and I can’t wait to read the rest of her books.� I even joined the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.� Their website is funny and educational, and I’ve enjoyed reading�the accompanying blog.� However, I was saddened by a particular entry I found in the blog archives:� http://grammatically.blogspot.com/2006/04/conan-grammarian.html
I can understand allowing a few split-infinitives now and then, I suppose.� (My uncle, however, will probably shudder to read the link.� Split-infinitives are�one of his biggest�pet peeves.)� But allowing prepositions at the end of sentences?� WHY?� I just can’t embrace it.� I CRINGE each time I hear “Where you at?”� When on the phone, I enquire, “And from where are you calling?” and I usually ask people where they�were raised�instead of the awkward-sounding “from where are you?”� SPoGG argues that if it sounds ok, it is ok:
I don’t agree, as you might have guessed.� I don’t like the sound of “Who was it written by?” and I don’t intend to adopt this new rule.� You don’t even have to say “By whom was it written?”� Just say, “Who wrote it?”�
And if you notice errors in my writing, by all means, point them out, please.� Hey, even the OED has editors.