Sunday, September 16, 2012

GTOTD helps a friend discover his Scots-Irish roots: it's what we do.

With this post (also excerpted below) from his blog "Lee Family History," Grammar Tip of the Day's lifelong friend Paul Lee just made this one of the all-time great moments in GTOTD history. 

How "The Grammar Tip of the Day" inspired me to find my Scots-Irish roots

When I went back to Knoxville, Tennessee, recently on a visit with my Aunt Florence as a part of a quest to learn more about my family roots, I had dinner with my lifelong friend Brooks Clark. When I told him I had traced my ancestry to Ulster, he shared with me the 2004 non-fiction book by Senator James Webb (D-Va.), “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,” which is especially thought provoking in its insights into the influence of Scots-Irish culture that carry forward to the present. Brooks summarized from the book that common character traits of the Scots-Irish are a loyalty to kin, mistrust of governmental authority, fierce independence and military readiness. Another trait is the tendency of Scots-Irish culture to absorb members of other groups. Many of these defining traits are exemplified in my Wray ancestors as we shall see by exploring their common but fascinating lives.
    Brooks had written about this book in his blog titled “The Grammar Tip of the Day”:
“The word redneck was first cited in 1638, when Scots -- riding the wave of the Protestant Reformation -- adopted the Presbyterian Church (in which each church is run by its own Presbyters, or elders) and rejected the Church of England and its episcopacy (rule by bishops). Scots signed a National Covenant, often using their own blood. Many wore red pieces of cloth around their neck to signify their position to the public. Hence, they were referred to as Rednecks …. the idea of choosing to govern one's own religion of course led directly to the idea of choosing one's own government. This latter idea was carried over from Scotland, planted in America and brought to flower in the American Revolution.”
Read more.

Link to another GTOTD post, pertaining to the Metro Pulse story "Why East Tennesseans Love Their Guns.

Link to the original post cited above by Paul Lee.

A post about another great GTOTD moment with Paul Lee, the April 1968 filming of an RFK campaign ad in our school library. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A look back at the life of Dr. John C. Hodges on his 120th birthday

Today, March 15, is the 120th anniversary of the birth of the great grammarian and author of the Harbrace College Handbook, Dr. John C. Hodges of the University of Tennessee. 
    The Grammar Tip of the Day staff marked this occasion by composing a look back on Hodges' life, which you can read by clicking here.
    Today's profile includes little about Harbrace, since that was covered in "How the 'Harbrace Handbook of English' Changed the Way Americans Learn About Writing" last year, the 70th anniversary of that great tome, the top-selling college textbook of all time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Like and as -- should we just give up?

"Trae Golden scored eight points to keep Tennessee in the game late in the first half of Saturday's loss at Alabama, but the Volunteers' sophomore point guard turned the ball over six times and admitted after the game he didn't control the game like he should."

The sentence above was written by a former sports writing student of mine.  He was an excellent, attentive student, is a great guy and is doing very well in a very competitive field.
      We see this use of the word "like" in newspapers everywhere, including The New York Times.   I assume the Times' style sheet -- like that of our local Knoxville News Sentinel and our local grammar guru, Don Ferguson -- says that this is common usage and therefore fine.
     The only thing is, every time I read it, it makes me stop and say, "This just doesn't look or sound right to me."  I notice that two writers roughly my age (55) at our local paper write "the way" or " as" or "that" in the various places we use "like" in conversation and casual writing.
     My question is this: might there ever come a time when this holds a young writer/reporter back?  Might some crusty Baby Boomer editor looking through clips come upon this lead and move on to the next person? 
     I don't know the answer to this, or to the larger question of whether I am the last mastodon; i.e.,  whether anyone else on earth notices the like or as moments or cares about them.
(For previous posts on this topic on this blog, including the Harbrace rule, search "Like and as.")