Zombies among us

August 06, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

Though dead, they walk among us. They infest schoolrooms and creep into universities. The Internet swarms with them. They lurk in your workplaces.

They are what Arnold Zwicky calls zombie rules, "rules" that have no foundation in English grammar and usage, superstitions and shibboleths of usage addressed currently by Bryan Garner, in the 1970s by Theodore Bernstein, and in 1926 by H.W. Fowler. Fowler! Eighty-six years ago! They have been exposed and exploded over and over for decades, and they keep coming back.

On September 20  I will make my attempt to finish them off, in an audio conference sponsored by Copyediting. Ninety minutes of blasting away at them and taking your questions and comments. I invite your participation, and I also invite your suggestions of zombie rules that trouble you.

Join me in battle. Operators are standing by.

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