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Quotations about Grammar

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The flesh of prose gets its shape and strength from the bones of grammar. ~Constance Hale

My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. ~A.A. Milne

Devotees of grammatical studies have not been distinguished for any very remarkable felicities of expression. ~Bronson Alcott

Correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. ~George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872

There are people who embrace the Oxford comma and people who don’t, and I’ll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken. ~Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason. ~Richard C. Trench

[A] man must be a d—d fool, who can’t spell a word more than one way. ~Author unknown, 1855, anecdote from Jamestown Journal (Thanks, Garson O’Toole of quoteinvestigator.com!)

Correct spelling, indeed, is one of the arts that are far more esteemed by schoolma’ams than by practical men, neck-deep in the heat and agony of the world. ~Henry Louis Mencken, The American Language

Women are the simple, and poets the superior, artisans of language... the intervention of grammarians is almost always bad. ~Rémy de Gourmont

Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it is the sickening grammar that they use. ~Mark Twain

When I split an infinitive, god damn it, I split it so it stays split. ~Raymond Chandler

And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before... ~Douglas Adams

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect! ~Owens Lee Pomeroy

The past is always tense, the future perfect. ~Zadie Smith

Every English poet should master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them. ~Robert Graves

Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn’t.
Reserve the apostrophe for it’s proper use and omit it when its not needed....
Avoid commas, that are not necessary....
And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction....
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is...
~William Safire

There’s a fine line between funny and annoying – and it’s exactly the width of a quotation mark. ~Martha Brockenbrough

[S]ometimes... quotation marks are an absolute crime against humanity. ~Richard Lederer and John Shore, Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation, "Introduction," 2005

Bad grammar makes me [sic]. ~Author Unknown

There are grammatical errors even in his silence. ~Stanislaw J. Lec

Grammar is a piano I play by ear. ~Joan Didion

Man 1: Where are you from?
Man 2: From a place where we do not end sentences with prepositions.
Man 1: Okay, where are you from, jackass?
~Author Unknown

A pronoun, too, will aptly reflect the number of its antecedent: "they" does not refer to one person, no matter how many personalities she or he has, or how eager you are to skirt the gender frays. ~Karen Elizabeth Gordon

Grammar Checker – A software program that is not needed by those who know grammar and virtually useless for those who don’t. ~Richard Turner (1937-2011), The Grammar Curmudgeon, a.k.a. "The Mudge," from "The Curmudgeon’s Short Dictionary of Modern Phrases"

Grammar is politics by other means. ~Donna Haraway

After all, when a thought takes one's breath away, a lesson on grammar seems an impertinence. As Ruskin wrote in his earlier and better days, "No weight nor mass nor beauty of execution can outweigh one grain or fragment of thought." ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Preface to Poems by Emily Dickinson Edited by Two of Her Friends, Mabel Loomis Todd and T.W. Higginson, ©1890

Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar. ~E.B. White

Grammar stops at love, and at art. ~Terri Guillemets

Do not be surprised when those who ignore the rules of grammar also ignore the law. After all, the law is just so much grammar. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The rules of punctuation seem arbitrary. How can they not, when an apostrophe looks like nothing in this world so much as a comma that can’t keep its feet on the ground? Or when, by simply placing next to that wafting comma its twin, one creates (of all things) a quotation mark? ~Richard Lederer and John Shore, Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation, “Introduction,” 2005

What really alarms me about President Bush’s “War on Terrorism” is the grammar. How do you wage war on an abstract noun? How is “Terrorism” going to surrender? It’s well known, in philological circles, that it’s very hard for abstract nouns to surrender. ~Terry Jones

People who practice freedom of expression are terrorizing our grammatical way of life. ~Bauvard

I like commas. I detest semi-colons — I don’t think they belong in a story. And I gave up quotation marks long ago. I found I didn’t need them, they were fly-specks on the page. ~E.L. Doctorow

Next to the semi-colon, quotation marks seem to be the chief butts of reformatory ardor. ~H.L. Mencken, The American Language: Supplement II, 1948

Let school-masters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsense, and learning;
Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
Gives genius a better discerning.
~Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer: Or, The Mistakes of a Night

I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out. ~Oscar Wilde

In the United States the apostrophe seems to be doomed.... In other respects American and English punctuation show few differences. The English are rather more careful than we are, and commonly put a comma after the next-to-last member of a series, but otherwise are not too precise to offend a red-blooded American. ~H.L. Mencken, The American Language: Supplement II, 1948

A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That’s basic spelling that every woman ought to know. ~Mistinguett, quoted in Theatre Arts, Volume 39, Issue 12, 1955

This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put. ~Attributed to Winston Churchill, rejecting the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition, c.1948, may instead have been said by an anonymous official, see notes at www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

Grammar makes the difference between feeling you’re nuts and feeling your nuts. ~Author Unknown

I always put the apostrophe in "ain’t" to make certain I’m using proper improper English. ~Author Unknown

Making love to me is amazing. Wait, I meant: making love, to me, is amazing. The absence of two little commas nearly transformed me into a sex god. ~Jarod Kintz, Love quotes for the ages. Specifically ages 18-81.

Only in grammar can you be more than perfect. ~William Safire

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win. ~Author Unknown

The serial comma is sexy, smart, and useful. ~Author Unknown

You know you’re a language nerd when you have a strong opinion about serial commas. ~Author Unknown

There’s the Oxford comma, but I like the Shatner comma. It’s when you pepper them in, so, you know where, to add, dramatic pauses. ~Nicole Leigh Shaw

Shatner commas: Oddly placed commas that don’t seem to serve any actual purpose in punctuation, but make it look like you should take odd pauses, as William Shatner does when delivering lines. ~Author Unknown

When money talks, no one checks the grammar. ~Author Unknown

Let me just acknowledge that the function of grammar is to make language as efficient and clear and transparent as possible. But if we’re all constantly correcting each other’s grammar and being really snotty about it, then people stop talking because they start to be petrified that they’re going to make some sort of terrible grammatical error and that’s precisely the opposite of what grammar is supposed to do, which is to facilitate clear communication. ~John Green

A semicomma, we should note, doesn’t exist; we just made the word up. But it sounds like a punctuation mark that should exist, doesn’t it? ~Richard Lederer and John Shore, Comma Sense: A Fun-damental Guide to Punctuation, "Introduction," 2005

Why care for grammar as long as we are good? ~Artemus Ward

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Last modified 2015 Jan 22 Thu 21:40 PST

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