Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

 INside Scoop
 IN Her Own Write
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 Screen & Stage
 Top 10 Resources
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Editorial Calendar
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover


Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer

Vote daily and raise our ranking!

INside Scoop January, 2008

IN Advertising

Policing Language
Royally ranting at grammarian goblins
By  Rowdy Rhodes

The internet provides much grammarian wheat, but it also hauls out the chaff.
Our esteemed editor mentioned in our preview issue there are times that I will go on a rant. This is one of those times.

Let me start off with a horribly mutilated quote, re-written (not by me) to be gender correct:

"How many roads must an individual walk down before you call them an adult?"

If you are an aficionado of folk music you'll recognize the song the quote is based upon:

"How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man." is from Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind".

Lord knows I'm all for equality, however historical use of words like fireman, policeman, mankind, man-made are being re-written as "language police" hunt down "gender abuse" attempting to cleanse written English that has already been published!

It's a scary, nauseating thought that the words of the classics and textbook history are being altered to accommodate gender.

Journalists, writers, editors, and educators alike are pressured to conform to gender rules to express thoughts and ideas. Publishers are actually re-publishing certain books with gender "corrected".

"How many roads must an individual walk down .... ?". Give me a break!

My beef doesn't stop there though. Oh, no. Some of you have launched personal attacks at me.

Ultra-conservative grammarians are skulking around like hen house weasels striving to suffocate word growth, snatch generally accepted words from being added to dictionaries, and establish themselves as Puritans of English. Balderdash!

I've even heard from one grammarian complaining that supermarkets should change check out signs from "8 Items or Less" to "8 Items or Fewer". Pahleese!

At times grammarians make valid, important points and remind us about structure, yet I also believe many develop delusions of grandeur. Lately they have delivered messages to me in rude, sanctimonious emails. I have been criticized and lambasted for "uneducated" and "improper" use of prepositions and a penchant for run-on sentences.

Here's some English "minutia" for you to mull over:

Dangling Prepositions:

It was John Dryden who first promulgated the doctrine that a preposition may not be used at the end of a sentence, probably on the basis of a specious analogy to Latin.

Grammarians in the 18th century refined the doctrine, and the rule has since become one of the most venerated maxims of schoolroom grammar. But sentences ending with prepositions can be found in the works of most of the great writers since the Renaissance.

English syntax does allow for final placement of the preposition, as in "We have much to be thankful for" or "I asked her which course she had signed up for".

Efforts to rewrite such sentences to place the preposition elsewhere can have stilted and even comical results, as Winston Churchill demonstrated when he objected to the doctrine by saying “This is the sort of English up with which I cannot put.”

Sometimes sentences that end with adverbs, such as "I don't know where she will end up" or "It's the most curious book I've ever run across", are mistakenly thought to end in prepositions.

So stop harassing me about sentences ending with "for", "up", "across", etc., and know that, at times, it is okay to write in this fashion.

Run-on sentences:

Another of my peeves is being accused of writing run-on sentences and I will admit that I have been known to be guilty of expressing a full train of thought in a sentence of enormous proportions, disregarding the period in order to convey my message, however I do not stand alone in this arena and for that I have much to be thankful for.

Henry James wrote the following single sentence. I love every word and nuance:

When in a quarter of an hour he came down, what his hostess saw, what she might have taken in with a vision kindly adjusted, was the lean, the slightly loose figure of a man of the middle height and something more perhaps than the middle age--a man of five-and-fifty, whose most immediate signs were a marked bloodless brownness of face, a thick dark moustache, of characteristically American cut, growing strong and falling low, a head of hair still abundant but irregularly streaked with grey, and a nose of bold free prominence, the even line, the high finish, as it might have been called, of which, had a certain effect of mitigation.

I am comfortable with run-on sentence writing, and reading, and when I mentioned the above to one of my detractors their response was "you missed your century" and "your density doesn't allow the form of language to penetrate".

If you want to grammatically chew on something then I submit to you an example of truly wretched writing that was the 2005 Winner of the Wretched Writing Contest held at the Amherst College Writing Center

And who says you're not supposed to start a sentence with And or But?

Got something to say about this rant? Fire away: subject Rowdy Words

Dangling Prepositions Source: and the American Heritage Dictionary

Henry James Source: and The Ambassadors by Henry James 

IN Icon 

Rowdy Rhodes
General Manager
Inkwell Newswatch

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

INside Scoop
IN This Issue
A Writing Roller Coaster
INside On Hiatus
Resource Redirect
Telling Stories
Writing For A Living?
Refresh & Commence
Hecklers And Helpers
Straight To The Good Stuff

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software

Effectively Manage Your List

Writers Digest 101 Site Award

Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers

Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.

Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."