No, no, no, no, no
I reprint a letter to the editor from one Rod Gelatt to the Columbia Missourian.
I applaud the plan, announced in Sunday's Columbia Missourian, to invite readers of the online Missourian to "....find and report errors in online content." But why stop there? How about expanding the challenge to include such goofs in the print version, as well?
Many of us still rely on the inked page product for our morning news fix, and we too cringe when we come across singular nouns mixed with plural verbs, sentences ending with prepositions, mis-use of the subjective "I" when the sentence calls for the objective "me," or the typographical relocation of an historic landmark.
Awarding readers of the online Missourian with points, and possible prizes, for pointing out errors, but not dangling such prizes in front of us print version readers, makes as much sense as the Missouri General Assembly outlawing texting while driving ONLY among teenagers.
And, by the way, in the announcement of the invitation for us to become grammar police, I found two errors: "....who wants to generously point out..." (splitting an infinitive) and "Spell check won't help you when you have the wrong word to start with" (ending sentence with preposition).
As Sir Winston Churchill is said to have remarked: "This is something up with which I will not put."
The Missourian explains in a note that Mr. Gelatt is a professor emeritus of journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. It was at that point that I began to tear my garments and cast about for ashes to rub into my head.
Adopting once more my more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone, I remind you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with splitting infinitives or ending sentences with prepositions, that both are arrant superstitions with no foundation in the idiomatic usages of the language.
And, shifting into that annoying higher pitch that you have heard so often before, I have to point out that it is highly unlikely that Sir Winston ever uttered that remark about prepositions, and, further, that this letter is one more piece of evidence about the prevalence of bogus authorities, because a major university gave tenure to someone who appears to have spent years, perhaps decades, standing before the impressionable young and FILLING THEIR HEADS WITH NONSENSICAL PRACTICES THAT I HAVE TO BREAK THEM OF. AND DON’T YOU SAY A DAMN THING TO ME ABOUT THE PREPOSITION AT THE END OF THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE.
Where are my pills?