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2 Comments

  • Liz: Wonder what you thought of the Pinker article. Predictably it made me cross. I admit he says sensible things about these uses, although headings like ‘predicative nominative’ are unhelpful, as is discussion of the accusative. But I sigh at the same old chestnuts being brought up and discussed for the n-to-the-nth time, as if this is all ‘grammar’ is about. Surely there are other topics of interest in the other 99.99999 percent of the English language.

  • Hi Gill: I agree that he does address a lot of the usual old chestnuts, but I suppose these questions are the ones that a lot of people immediately look for guidance on (see what I did there?). As such it’s a useful and sadly necessary corrective to the ill-informed bletherings of Heffer, Gwynne et al. I find Pinker an engaging writer and I thought the piece was both sensible and well written (as appropriate to a guide to style, which is what it is extracted from). I’m sure the book – which I haven’t read – ranges much more widely and goes into the subject more deeply.