Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Verbal traffic controls

Disclosure: I am a confessed grammar scofflaw, which sometimes riles editors. In a feature article, I once used the phrase, " was her." The grammar checkers tried to pin me down and make me change it to " was she."

I wrote back, quoting chapter and verse in my defense. And I added: "Please don't make me sound like my 5th grade English teacher..... It's perfectly acceptable to say 'It was her.' Send the grammar police to me if they have complaints."

So, you can see I'm no purist. Still, after rereading an ambiguous sentence a few times, I did ask one of my favorite writers about his cavalier attitude to punctuation.

He replied:
When passing a punctuation stop sign or running a syntactical red light, I will flash my poetic license, which if it ever lapsed, I hereby declare renewed.
I answered him,
When it comes to verbal traffic controls, I keep one rule in mind:
Pity the poor pedestrian readers. Make it safe and easy to keep reading to the next page, and the next, and the next.......


  1. What a fabulous response! I'm forwarding the link around and posting it to Twitter and Facebook.

    1. Thank you.
      Even in writing--Cross at the green.... Not in between!