April 25th, 2009
Professor Geoffrey Pullum, Professor of Linguistics at University of Edinburgh, recently wrote an article called ‘50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice’ in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Strunk and White’s Element of Style.
I visited Professor Pullum in his office in a beautiful new university building in the heart of Edinburgh to talk to him about his article and to discuss grammar and technical writing.
Among other things, we talk about:
- the split infinitive
- “none of us are” or “none of us is”?
- that and which
- the view of grammar as commandments brought down from the Grammar Mountain
- the pressure to enforce grammar rules, even when you don’t believe them
- why do most of us know so little about grammar?
- if we shouldn’t use Strunk & White, where should we go for grammar advice?
We also mentioned Professor Pullum’s talk at last year’s UA Conference Europe:
The Piranha Brothers, the Unwritten Grammatical Law, and the Phenomenon of Nerdview,
which is well worth reading if you find this interview interesting.
- Professor Pullum on NPR’s Talk of the Nation phone-in, April 16, 2009
- Professor Pullum interviewed on NPR's Here and Now show from September 2006
- Marc Acito marks to 50th anniversary of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style on NPR, April 2006
Related blog posts:
- Happy Birthday, Strunk and White! – from the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog
- Pullum on Strunk and White from Orange Crate Art
- Hardly [adverb] convincing [adjective] from Orange Crate Art
- The End of Strunk from SLOG
The music I play at the beginning and end of the show is by Amplifico. You can hear more of their music at Podshow.
ITauthor.com/podcasts – the technical writing podcast