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    The Boston Brahmina is
    a copy editor, writer, and
    avid baker who blogs about media, politics, feminism,
    and dessert.

    She can be reached at:
    BostonBrahmina [at] gmail [dot] com

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Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

The internet was down at my house all day yesterday and it damn near killed me. So have a few language nitpicks from your resident copy editor while I get caught up on the news.

“Everyday” is an adjective meaning average, ordinary, quotidian. “I am everyday people.” “That’s no everyday occurrence.” If you want to say something happens daily, it’s two words. “The paper comes every day.” “Every day I lose a few more marbles.” A good way to remember it is if you can put the word “single” between “every” and “day” without changing the meaning, you should be using two words.

If you say, “exception that proves the rule,” the thing you’re dismissing should be in some way… exceptional. The idea is that the person or circumstances being offered as an example of when the rule is not true are so unbelievably unusual that it effectively proves that the rule is true for any people or circumstances normal humans would actually encounter. (Well, technically, the original idea is a little more esoteric, but the good ship Common Parlance had already sailed by Fowler’s writing, so I won’t bother trying to stop it now.) So: “Nobody will buy this. It doesn’t do anything and they could get it elsewhere for free.” “Pet Rock.” “Exception that proves the rule.” Or: “You’ll never get to the majors if you don’t learn some plate discipline.” “What about Vlad Guerrero?” “Exception that proves the rule.” It cannot be used in the case of a common exception to dismiss an opponent’s argument, and it has nothing to do with the adage, “There’s an exception to every rule.”

Rivers are forded, not forged. I know “ford” is not often heard anymore, what with Oregon Trail having gone out of style, but forging is only done by counterfeiters and blacksmiths.

According to my copy of the OED, the definition of “patriotic” is, “Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a patriot; devoted to the well-being or interests of one’s country.” So last time I checked, it is, in fact, patriotic to pay higher taxes.


2 Responses

  1. all that because you wanted to kick Sarah Palin in the head? It was good, I grant you, nice lead in.

    BTW: I’m going to have to fight you for Tina Fey. I watched her debate last night. “And for all you Joe Six Packs out there playing a drinking game (aside: wtf is with Joe Six Pack, does no one find that offensive? like they’re calling all average american men beer swilling alcoholics??) – MAVERICK. *mimics opening can and drinking*”

  2. Heh. Actually, I really just wanted to rant about grammar and threw Palin in at the end to keep people interested.

    Tina Fey is why they invented dueling. Pistols at dawn!

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