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John Dryden

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Top John Dryden Articles see all

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  • The mistake of taking the hard line

    Commenting from Albion, the estimable Picky recently wrote: "As I look back on a very privileged life I note that although the language I spoke mostly as a child was that of the London streets, my parents (typically of the upper working class in those days they enriched English by reading Dickens and Trollope and Austen to each other in the evenings - anyone do that nowadays?) and my school together provided me also with something very close to standard English, and I traded on that, essentially made my living from it, for the rest of my life. People who tell me that 'ain't' is perfectly good English dating back to Hengist and Horsa or Whoever are right, of course, but more important is knowing when 'ain't' is OK and when it ain't. People who shy from passing that sort of stuff on to others may be very clever and very knowledgeable about language, but they are not doing their fellows any favours at all."
  • A grammar cheat sheet

    A grammar cheat sheet
    If researchers are to be believed, kids lose up to an entire grade level each year to "summer brain drain," wherein recently acquired knowledge oozes out of their minds and melts onto the pavement while they participate in such pointless activities as...

    Sex sins of mighty are old hat in literature

    Sex sins of mighty are old hat  in literature
    It didn't start with Twitter — and it won't end with Weiner. For centuries, the theme of sexual sins committed by the powerful has been scintillating source material for the arts. In poems and plays, in novels and films and TV series, artists...

    A drama critic's turn to face the music

    A drama critic's turn to face the music
    Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for raucous laughter.) If you doubt it, look up the word "critic" in any book of quotations and see what you find. H.L. Mencken's "New Dictionary of Quotations" is full of zinger after zinger, most of which...

    Some very special collections

    The first order of business at colleges and universities is to dispense knowledge. Second may be collecting stuff. And institutions of higher education in California know how to bring in the goods. As the region's schools have proliferated, collections...