Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
These are interesting times for word nerds. We ate, shot and left, bonding over a joke about a panda and some rants about greengrocers who abuse apostrophes. We can go on Facebook and vow to judge people when they use poor grammar. The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Elements of Style inspired sentimental reveries. Grammar Girl's tally of Twitter followers is well into six digits. We can't get enough of a parody of the Associated Press Stylebook, of all things, or a collection of "unnecessary" quotation marks.
Could you care less? Does bad grammar or usage "literally" make your head explode? Test your need for this new book with these sentences:
"Katrina misplaced many residents of New Orleans from their homes."
"Sherry finally graduated college this year."
"An armed gunman held up a convenience store on Broadway yesterday afternoon."
Pat yourself on the back if you found issues in every one of these sentences, but remember: There is a world out there beyond the stylebooks, beyond Strunk and White, beyond Lynne Truss and Failblogs. In his long-awaited follow-up to Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, while steering readers and writers on the proper road to correct usage, Walsh cautions against slavish adherence to rules, emphasizing that the correct choice often depends on the situation. He might disagree with the AP Stylebook or Merriam-Webster, but he always backs up his preferences with logic and humor.
Walsh argues with both sides in the language wars, the sticklers and the apologists, and even with himself, over the disputed territory and ultimately over whether all this is warfare or just a big misunderstanding. Part usage manual, part confessional, and part manifesto, Yes, I Could Care Less bounces from sadomasochism to weather geekery, from "Top Chef" to Monty Python, from the chile of New Mexico to the daiquiris of Las Vegas, with Walsh's distinctive take on the way we write and talk. Yes, I Could Care Less is a lively and often personal look at one man's continuing journey through the obstacle course that some refer to, far too simply, as "grammar."
“gifting” one another the way the sticklers feared in 1960 or so. No matter how many people drink “expresso” and eat “sherbert,” smart people insist on the actual words. But many mutations do survive. Nouns become verbs, jargon becomes mainstream, foreign words become English ones, trademarks become generic, errors become accepted. Spellings even change. (You may have smiled at the idea of not correcting a toddler, but I saw a child’s mutation survive when my little sister, Jennifer, first signed
Gui-jer-mo Vilas. (This enraged one viewer, someone aware of Spanish but not the Argentine iteration, who wrote to one of the tennis magazines to say that Collins and his broadcast sidekick, Donald Dell, should henceforth be Bud Co-jins and Donald Dejj.) Collins, bless his heart, goes overboard in his quest for authenticity, speaking of Martina Navra-TEEL-ova and Ma-RI-a Sha-ROP-ova long after even Navratilova and Sharapova were using anglicized pronunciations. And it was amusing/annoying to
And there are some good ambassadors out there. Read Geoff Nunberg and Geoffrey K. Pullum and G. Arnold Zwicky and G. Mark Liberman and the other Geoffs at Language Log (languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu—catchy, isn’t it?). Read Ben Zimmer, there and elsewhere. Read recovering nitpickers Jan Freeman and John McIntyre and the like-minded people they link to (have Google send you an alert when those names crop up in the news feed). You won’t agree with everything they say. (I sure don’t.) You might remain a
confusing those who care about the use of words to make sense.” The eulogy was premature, and writing in the Times in 1983, Safire observed that “the short form is understood and the long form would be regarded as the sort of thing a visiting Martian might say.” But he wasn’t giving up; in the same column, he spun around to venturing that the phrase would atrophy from disuse. If only. Safire and Bernstein are no longer with us, but could care less lives on, in speech and writing, in sticklers’
that way, and that’s fine. Remember when Jane mentioned to Aaron that “they used the wrong missile graphic”? No? Well, maybe you’re not as obsessed with Broadcast News as I am. Anyway, she didn’t mean that there were two graphics and that the wrong one, as in the only one that possibly could have been wrong, got used. She simply meant that the one that was used was wrong. Now, there are times when there are only two alternatives, and therefore the wrong one really is the wrong one, but I’m not