"Like anything else involving stringent rules and regulations, grammar harbors a hefty share of obsessive fanboys and fangirls who enjoy debating its ins, outs, and other various quirks. So of course controversies break out in academia, the media, and even intimate conversations between friends. Here are a few of the ones that churn stomachs and angry up the blood, in no particular order.”

  1. The Oxford Comma
  2. The pronunciation of “controversial”
  3. Double negatives
  4. “Irregardless”
  5. Ending sentences with prepositions
  6. “Hanged” vs. “Hung”
  7. Like as a conjunction
  8. “Good” vs. “Well”
  9. Text/Internet speak
  10. Starting sentences with “however”
  11. Starting sentences with “but” or “and”
  12. Gender-neutral pronouns
  13. Split infinitives
  14. Passive voice
  15. Punctuation inside quotation marks
  16. Possessive apostrophes on words that end in ‘s’
  17. “E-mail” vs. “email”
  18. Universal grammar rules
  19. The fact that there are different kinds of dashes
  20. “Who” vs. “Whom”
(via Stephen’s Lighthouse)

A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters — straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast — the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” — tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.

The article also discusses some of the reasons for the increased prevalence of typos in more recent works, as well as their impact.

(via Library Stuff)

literary-labyrinth
Thurber was once asked by a correspondent: “Why did you have a comma in the sentence, ‘After dinner the men went into the living-room’?” And his answer was probably one of the loveliest things ever said about punctuation. “This particular comma,” Thurber explained, “was Ross’s way of giving the men time to push back their chairs and stand up.”
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves (via prettybooks)