Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Recently encountered irritants

The aristocracy is not “To the manner born”. One is not host on a petard. It is the muster that one does or does not cut. Leech and leach: one is a noun, the other a verb.

Ok, I’m really not a grammar Nazi. I was not among those who complained that Star Trek’s mission statement split an infinitive; I’m wont to tell those who chide me for ending a sentence with a preposition that that is the sort of nonsense “up with which one should not put.” I would never correct a friend or blog; I’ve always held that my pomposity in doing so would be a greater offense than a minor language faux pas. But the examples listed above were out of books from major publishing houses.

Come on, publishers- if you’re going to charge me $26.95 for a book you told me was an important work, hire a Goddamned editor! Running a book through a spellchecker is not good enough; have a human being- preferably a high school graduate- read the thing before committing to print. I’m not offended when Ludicris or 50 Cent abuses the language; they quite literally don’t know any better. But I expect better from major publishing houses.


Anonymous said...

What's the matter with 'to the manner born'? That's the way it is in Shakespere:
HAMLET: The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

HORATIO: Is it a custom?

HAMLET: Ay, marry, is't:
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.

Joel Monka said...

I should have provided context. In this case, the author was using the phrase to describe noble birth, a meaning used in many modern contexts. There actually was a manor involved. The Shakespeare original was using the phrase to refer to a hereditary trait- a mannerism. While no doubt the first usage of the phrase with "manor" replacing "manner" was a pun, the modern usage both ways without comic intent makes it imcumbent on the author to make the "manner" agree with the meaning- this author did not.

Lilylou said...

I've always been tempted to take a bottle of "wite-out" with me and make midnight raids on places like "The Smith's".

Chalicechick said...

It's ten items or FEWER, damn it!

who showed the picture of you and the Mrs. in Monte Carlo to theCSO, and we both giggled like schoolgirls.

Tee hee!

Joel Monka said...

You couldn't have giggled any more than we did! We had been wandering the grounds of Monte Carlo, half looking for the front door and half just admiring the opulence, when we almost ran into them- and we both said the same thing at the same time. It was the high point of the day.

Earthbound Spirit said...

My own personal pet language peeve is pour/pore. One does not "pour" over a statistical report, one pours a glass of wine. It makes poring over the report a lot less dreary.