Monday Morning Press 3.14

Only one set of footprints. You have to be a certain kind of person to appreciate this: (1) A Star Wars fan, (2) a Star Wars fan steeped in trite bookstore-Precious Moments evangelicalism. I am, and you won’t laugh at this unless you are too:

HT: 22 Words.

Grammar myths debunked. Today, there are plenty of mountains made out of grammatical molehills (especially among prescriptivists), and people much smarter than me are trying to sort though some of them. On National Grammar Day (March 4th), Motivated Grammar tackled a few of the egregious myths. I often dislike the magisterial AP Stylebook’s perspective (though I concede that news organizations should be allowed to draw intra-organizational grammatical lines), and some of these differ directly with the “journalist’s bible.” So, good by me:

There’s nothing wrong with anyways.Anyway is the more common form, but that’s a historical accident. Related forms always and sometimes are more common than their s-less companions, so clearly anyways isn’t inherently ungrammatical.


There’s not just one right way to say something. Do you worry if the past tense of dive is dived or dove? Or do you worry about shined and shone? Well, a lot of the time there isn’t a single right or best way of saying it. As it turns out, a lot factors can affect the decision. And often it’s best to go with your gut feeling.


Non-literal literally is perfectly standard. This one’s a three-fer. Stan Carey,me, and Dominik Lukes all wrote posts, each inspired by the other, about non-literal uses of literally. All of us share the conclusion that non-literal literally has been used for years, by writers good and bad, and is here to stay. But the three of us disagree on whether or not it’s a stylistically good usage. I found this an interesting exercise in seeing how different descriptivists dispense usage advice.

I’ve noted others before, like APS’ claim that “OK” is standard over “Okay” (it’s not, necessarily) and its insistence that the final serial comma be deleted (it shouldn’t be). Check them all out.

Joe Poz offensive stats. Sports are finally starting to pick up now, as we’re looking down the line at the March/April season, and with it the three of the best sporting events of the year in succession: March Madness, the start of baseball season, and the Masters. With baseball upcoming, Joe Posnanski offers a very helpful summary of some critical offensive metrics, and reminds us why batting average isn’t reliable.

Bracket stuff. First draft of my NCAA bracket, up to the Final Four, complete with inexplicable homerism. That will probably change tomorrow. Thoughts?


One thought on “Monday Morning Press 3.14

  1. I will never, EVER accept the non-literal use of “literally.” Not because of what any style guide says, but because it leads to ridiculous and buffoonish assertions, if they are meant to be taken seriously. I literally fell off my chair laughing? Well, that’s probably just hyperbole. (Although I still don’t like it.) But don’t try to convince me that something is literally this or that when this or that simply could not be.

    Of course, you have to take the meaning of “literal” in context too. In a poem (a really, really bad poem) my heart literally could be aflame. Metaphorical constructions are literal in this sense. Was the Lamb of God slain? Yes, literally.

    And yes, the final comma is essential:

    We need everyone to sign up to bring one of the following to the party: soda, cake, napkins, paper plates, kazoos, ice cream, balloons, pointy cardboard hats, chips and dip.

    Do I bring chips or dip? Chips and dip? Do I just sign up for something else so I don’t have to figure it out?

    (Oh, and the “authorities,” except in the special case of journalism, agree:

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