For those of us engaged in the act of communication, we have often been hoist by the petard of grammar “rules.” English is a grammar nightmare and things shift all the time. It is because of these shifts that I have had arguments — not discussions, mind — but out and out arguments with colleagues over the years about:
- the Oxford comma
- beginning a sentence with a numeral
- ending a sentence with a preposition
- split infinitives
Everything changes. Twenty years ago, English teachers would be in absolute agreement that the correct past participle of “to sneak” was “sneaked.” Today “sneaked” and the more vernacular “snuck” run about even. The latter will probably be preferred in another 20 years.
Great article. I mean, if you’re a word geek like me!