20 June 2005

Here comes the grammar Nazi

Ever since I embarked upon my PhD, I've become increasingly fussy about language. Despite having grown up in the UK, I have never really had any formal teaching about the semi-random rules of grammar in the English language. Sure, I've learned the basics - nounds, verbs, adverbs (madlibs being a superb teaching aid), but I am never able to give a formal reason why a sentence must be written in a particular way.

I'm planning to wrap up my thesis in February next year, and have a couple of journal papers in the cooker, so formal writing is going to be a central part of what I am doing for the next year or so. I've been scratching around, looking for a good guide to formal writing. The one that receives the most critical acclaim is The elements of style, by Strunk and White (1935). It's a short guide to concise and clear writing (i.e. everything that this blog isn't) and I was pleased to find a recent edition of it available for free online - last revised in 2003. It's a great reference, and a highly recommended read.

So, for the future - more grammar, less grammaticide :P :P :P

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