Monday grammar blogging

Prof. Geoff Pullum commemorates the rapidly approaching 50th anniversary of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style by explaining that much of the manuals's advice is bad, Strunk and White didn't understand grammar well enough to write about it (which differs from understanding it well enough to use it, as E.B. White could and did), and the influence of the book has been on the whole harmful. One thing to keep in mind with regard to that last point is to note that Pullum's arguments support both the claims that it has generally been harmful compared to a better grammar manual, and that it would be easy to create a better grammar manual, but not the claim that the book has had a malign influence compared to a complete lack of training in grammar, which might be the most relevant alternative. I previously wrote about The Elements of Style a little bit in this post, and wrote about writing about it in a couple of others from around the same time.