Jonathon Owen's eminently sensible and well-informed essay "12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes" has been published at Huffington Post, and the comments there and on his own Arrant Pedantry site are as hilarious as you would have expected: peeves, superstitions, shibboleths, and (not to put too fine a point on it) stark ignorance.
I can't resist sharing some of the choicer specimens:
To misuse "decimate" fosters a misunderstanding of Roman history.
This comment carries the etymological fallacy to a higher place of lunacy: We cannot use the word in English to mean other than the way Tacitus used it in the Annals, because then no one could understand Roman history. This combines the etymological fallacy with the word-can-only-have-one-meaning error.*
You start a sentence with "but," a no-no.
Lincoln did in the Second Inaugural, and the KJV has innumerable sentences beginning with coordinating conjunctions, but a simplistic schoolroom dictum is easy to hold in mind for a lifetime, regardless of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.
irregardless is not a word and What does "irregardless mean and how does one use it? With the negating prefix "ir-" and the negating suffix "less", it is a double negative. It is not a synonym with "regardless."
Irregardless is very much a word, just not a word widely accepted in standard written English. So we start with the misguided and utterly mistaken attitude that standard written English is the Only One True English, all variants being illegitimate.
But here we have ignorance compounded, because while the prefix in- from Latin indicates negation, English has another version, as described by the Oxford English Dictionary: "of Germanic origin, prefixed to Old English and Middle English adjs., with intensive force ... with the sense ,'inly,' intimately,' 'thoroughly', and hence 'exceedingly', 'very'."
So with regardless, in-, by prefix assimilation becomes ir- and intensifies the sense of the word, just as inflammable does not mean "not flammable" but "very flammable."
Murphy is not spelled correctly.
If this reader and others had troubled to click on the link or to look up Muphry's Law, they would have found that it states that any article on grammar and usage will contain some error of grammar or usage.
The gentleman who speculated that Jonathon Owen does not know how to spell his own first name may have been puckish, but then again ...
*You placement-of-only fanatics can take a number and wait in line.
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