Tag: common errors

A Grammarian’s Lament


In their appeal to the common reader, grammar books probably fall somewhere between the little pamphlets with a list of warnings that come with power tools (“Don’t put your hand into the path of the bandsaw”) and the stapled pages of how-to instructions for crocheting penises (“Knit one and purl two, perv!” See postscript.)

About fifty years ago when I still had ideals and ambition, I put my heart and soul into writing a grammar book.  My sole surviving copy is a bit worn and shabby, but here’s what it now looks like.

Yes, I can conjugate the hell out of verbs and you can’t. (Ok, what’s the past participle of lay? How about the future perfect continuous of sidle? OK, I don’t know that one, but I think I knew it once.)