Pedants Are Revolting: Grammar Nitpick Sparks Barnyard Henpeck


Andrea Barham's The Pedants' Revolt. Yours starting at £0.01 on Amazon.

Call it the circular firing squad or the pot calling the kettle black or the hoisting of the jackanapes on his own petard (actually, please call it that last one). Years ago, esteemed Hit & Run commenter R C Dean considered the law under which anybody who points out a "typo, misspelling or grammatical error" will in turn commit "some kind of typographical, spelling, or grammatical offense."

Now Scott Stein sifts through a CNN comment thread that puts the snicket in persnickety to find a tragic example of Dean's Law in action. (Will we ever learn?) 

One or two commenters blow the whistle on the author's violation of the underpublicized "I've got" injunction. But no sooner have the grammar constables taken off after the illiterate wordstress than they are besunken in a slough of misplaced subjunctives and possessive pitfalls: 

"I've got nearly 20 years of experience in the classroom…"

I've got – if it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.


You're opinion died at "got". Sorry.

Very funny. All the usual characters show up for the Hobbesian copyedit of all against all. Even the romantic who sings that we must cast aside these Latinate chains that bind our rough Teutonic tongue and give full Nordic will to the Queen's English. That person goes by the name Uthor and calls people Nazis. (Isn't there a Web 1.0 rule about that too?)

If anybody knows the logic behind the prohibition on "I've got," please pipe up in the comments. Extra credit to anybody who can explain why "the fact that" is grounds for public ridicule.