Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Like, it's just a word!

Sometimes I feel like a curmudgeony old lady who pooh-poohs every minor grammatical infraction I come across. Whether it be online or in print, I have an almost allergic reaction to the countless misuses of are vs. our, where vs. wear, and (my personal favorite) your vs. you're.

And what to do about the debauchery of our beloved English language? To my horror words like totes, adorkable and amazeballs (and its irksome cousin "awesome sauce") have made its way into our everyday dialogue. Is there no more good in this world?

Then I read this intriguing article by Columbia University English professor John McWhorter and my mind was put at ease. "Amid what often seems like the slack-jawed devolution of a once-mighty language, we can find evidence for, of all things, a growing sophistication," McWhorter writes. "Yes, sophistication."
Illustration by Tucker Nichols for the NYT.