November 8, 2006
Grammar is like religion. There are a lot of shepherds out there capitalizing on our nearly universal desire to act like sheep. Followers of William Strunk and E.B. White learn the gospel that "nauseous" means not "sickened" but "sickening," and instantly they're ready to wage holy war on the heathens in the church of the "Fowler's Modern English Usage," which says, "Any handbook that tells you that 'nauseous' cannot mean 'nauseated' (sickened)...
March 24, 2010
My friend Tracy, a professional writer, recently wrote to ask me about something she saw in a news article. In it, a woman said she was ?embarrassed of? her daughter. Tracy wanted to know: Are ?embarrassed of? and, another she often sees, ?bored of,? acceptable? In her mind, ?embarrassed by? and ?bored by? or ?with? are more proper. If you pose this question to friends and family, most will respond with startling confidence. ?By,? they will tell you, is the right choice. ?