Wednesday, October 31, 2012

English grammar from the trenches

I've noticed that language as a whole is on a downward slide. Between texting and emails, we're learning to ad lib like never before. Even in the best of circumstances, we only use a small chunk of the vocabulary Shakespeare used in his day. Something must be done.

Now, it's not that I'm an English whiz compared to a friend of mine who was an editor and now runs a close-captioning company. His level of perfection is possibly beyond me, but I can hold my own and detect perhaps 95 percent of the troubles most writers would do well to avoid if they wanted to keep their credibility as craftsmen of the English language. No matter where we each are, we could always be better and use a hand up from our English-using pals. Maybe you're mystified by compound sentences (like I used to be). Perhaps you're confused by perfect tenses and spelling rules. Whatever the case, I'll be posting a few simple lessons which should help.

(And in respect to that sad comment about Shakespeare's vocabulary being so superior to our own, I'll be giving you a word to add to your cache. Your mission is to use it in a sentence and impress your friends, family, and coworkers.)

If this post has depressed you too much, check out this Shakespeare version of the Three Little Pigs.

Word for the day

eucatastrophe—[noun] a sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a happy ending.

Example: Do you prefer a book with a eucatastrophe?

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