Grammar Blog Motivates Word Geeks


At times I run across some media (podcasts, blogs, etc) that undergird my literary efforts. I like to share them with my writerly readers. Here’s a grammar blog that’s recently come to my attention.


Motivated Grammar is a geeky pleasure. That is, I think it’s exceptionally sexy. It yields less benefit to society for a bunch of word-o-philes to ponder where we should say disinterested or uninterested, but put those people at work on a dictionary or grammar book and you get lyrics in an Alison Krauss song, “Old, Mr. Webster could never define…what’s going on between your heart and mine.”



True kindred indeed. The blogger behind MG, Gabe Doyle gave a shout out recently to A Way with Words, a weekly grammar, dialect, and etymology, radio show on NPR. (Any of you who’ve followed me on Twitter or Facebook have read my love for this show, which is also available via podcasts.)


Here are a few goodies that exemplify why I dig the blog:

  • “The competent writer is the one who switches between (formal and informal language) readily and appropriately, not the one who unfailingly aims for Formal.”
  • “I’m not saying that the reason is because isn’t informal, only that it isn’t nonstandard. It goes back to at least Francis Bacon in 1625.”
  • “I know how strong a barrier language can be. Learning a second language is really damn hard, and it’s a bit rich to mock people for their imperfect acquisition, especially in a society that’s so monolithically monolingual as ours.”


As a wordsmith I like MG and its author. After all, I find a Princeton BS in math and a UCSD PhD candidacy in linguistics sexy. Therefore I like Doyle’s posts to my burning questions about comma placement, none is vs none are, and ugly strings of words like “Where are you at?”.

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