Fascinating Fundamentals

I probably would not have picked up this book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper,  on my own but it was recommended on a blog I follow by literary agent, Janet Reid.

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There are fascinating tidbits in this book for the word lover. For example, the author bemoans and befriends the addition of the word irregardless to the dictionary.

She also writes a bit about grammar. 

Do not end a sentence with a preposition

This is a rule I certainly remember being taught in grade school. Why this rule?  

Before we get into the why of this rule, some background:

First, the author reminds us that until the mid-fifteenth century, Latin and French were the languages of official documents.

Second, Latin and French had been around a long time and had grammatical standards in place. English, as a written language, was unruly. Grammar standards were needed for use in court and legal documents.

 How in the world are Latin and French related to English grammar rules? Read on ~ 

English grammar is not Latin grammar. English has a grammatical structure similar to other Germanic languages, and Latin has a grammatical structure similar to other Italic languages. Blending grammatical systems from two languages on different branches of the Indo-European language tree is a bit like mixing orange juice and milk: you can do it, but it’s going to be nasty.
— Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries

That unexpected hit of humor that peeped out there? The author has bits of those moments sprinkled throughout her book.  And I appreciate the behind-the-scenes peek at the working life of a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. 

If you wish to learn more about the English language, this is your book! Check it out.