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Language Peeves: Inner Grammandos vs. Inner Wordies

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2319
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Are you someone who still isn’t sure whether the pronoun “they” can be singular? Have you noticed younger speakers using “on accident” rather than “by accident”? Do you worry that no one knows how to use the apostrophe anymore? If so, this lively session on language is word-perfect for you.

From her perspective as a historian of the English language, linguist and veteran English professor Anne Curzan examines some common peeves in grammar, tackling such puzzlers as “who vs. whom,” “less vs. fewer,” “based on vs. based off,” and the eternal “between you and I.”

Curzan explains that everyone has an inner grammando (who can’t help but judge bits of usage we see and hear) and an inner wordie (who loves to play Wordle and make new puns and the like). Her observations are designed to help each of them hash out what to do with what many of us learned is “right” and “wrong” in language.

Curzan shares how she handles these usage questions as a former member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage panel, a teacher of writing, and a copy editor. You’ll leave with a heightened awareness of changes afoot in the English language and tools for becoming an even more skilled word watcher.

Curzan is the Arthur F. Thurnau professor of English and linguistics and dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan.

Her most recent book, Says Who? A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words (Penguin Random House) is available for sale.

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