David Foster Wallace

English without shame

Karen Conlin, fellow editor and winner of this year’s Robinson Prize at ACES: The Society of Editing, tweeted today in exasperation:

“Grammar-shaming and -policing is why people say idiotic things to ALL of us when they find out we either teach English or are editors.

 “ ‘Oh, I'll have to watch what I say around you!’

 “Don't. IDGAF how you talk or write unless I'm PAID for it.”

Grammar shaming is a byproduct of our educational system, intentionally so. Here’s how it operates.

Standard written English is nobody’s native tongue—that’s why it has to be taught in schools. Because it is a prestige dialect, the one essential for advancement in...