Everything listed under: Attitudes

  • He, She, and They: Pronouns and Gender Politics

    If you’ve been studying English for a while, you know that parts of speech such as verbs, nouns, and pronouns are supposed to live in harmony. That means they need to “agree” with each other in a sentence—a rule called parallelism.

    You don’t need to know the “ism” that denotes the rule. I only bring it up so that you’ll know it is a rule, one that’s essential in both spoken and written English.

    But rules are meant to be broken, as the late General Douglas MacArthur famously said. Can you spot the traditional rule I’m breaking in the following sentence?  Read More...

  • It’s About Time

    Last week, Valeria—one of my former students—kept me waiting for nearly an hour at the restaurant where we had agreed to meet for lunch. When she finally arrived, I was pretty miffed.

    Just think of all the glorious things I could have done with that hour! Instead of nibbling olives and getting indigestion, I could have organized a kitchen cabinet or called a sick relative. I could have written a diplomatic email message to my grumpy neighbor, the one who is always complaining that I don’t recycle properly. I could have done something. Clearly, Valeria had no respect for my time, and that meant she had no respect for me, or so I felt.  Read More...