About Errors of Grammar and Usage

Posted on Categories Legal Writing

Over at Language Log, they’ve been talking about one of my favorite articles about writing, Joseph Williams’ The Phenomenology of Error.  If you think of yourself as a grammar expert but have never read Williams’ article, you should, and be sure you read it all the way through, to the end.

Update January 12, 2009:  Just now I caught, and fixed, the misspelling of “phenomenology” I had inadvertently included in this post.  How ironic, given Williams’ subject matter, that I did so, inadvertently, and that Dean Strang noticed (see the comments).

3 thoughts on “About Errors of Grammar and Usage”

  1. I assume you meant only wry humor in rendering “phenomenology” as you did here. Williams offers the usual spelling before he errs more subtly for our collective benefit.

  2. “I wish to say that of Mrs. [Mary Baker] Eddy I am not requiring perfect English, but only good English. No one can write perfect English and keep it up through a stretch of ten chapters. It has never been done. It was approached in the “well of English undefiled”; it has been approached in Mrs. Eddy’s Annex to that Book; it has been approached in several English grammars; I have even approached it myself; but none of us has made port.”

    – Mark Twain in “Christian Science”

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