Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Topic: On Expelling the Word "Whom" from the English Language

10-second review: The topic says it all.

Title: “Who Needs Whom?” Derek Soles. English Journal (May 2005), 34. The secondary school publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “If a word is rarely used in spoken English and if the rules that govern its use are so convoluted that they make the average language user beg for mercy, that word should be expelled, excommunicated from the language. Whom is such a word.”

Comment: The history of the English language shows that if people are confused by an item of usage, one of the competing words will be expunged by the public. “Thee” disappeared. “Whom” will disappear. And so will “lie,” “lay” and “lain” in favor of “lay,” “laid” and “laid.”

But watch out. If you tell Rover to “lay” down, the mutt will probably ignore you. He knows correct English when he hears it. Channel 6, Action News in Philadelphia has already expunged the use of “lie” and “lay” in it newscasts—you won’t hear any form of “lie” and “lay” because the reporters get it wrong—every time. It’s inevitable, the loss of confusing usage, but be careful to whom you are talking or writing. RayS.

No comments: