Grammar wars and peace

For years now, the grammar world has been at peace - but it wasn't always thus.

By DAVID SHAMAH
November 1, 2006 11:23
2 minute read.
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computer cartoon 88. (photo credit: )

 
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For years now, the grammar world has been at peace - but it wasn't always thus. According to the unwritten history addendum of the Glossary of English Grammar Terms, available as a free download at http://www.usingenglish.com/ download.html, a war in ancient days nearly ripped the English language apart when the nouns and verbs, never the best of friends to begin with, nearly destroyed each other in the showdown. To make sure that things stay calm, the Grammar Nation decided to set up a United Language Center of sorts - in the form of UsingEnglish.com, the on-line center of "Resources for English as a Second Language" (http://www.usingenglish.com/). At UsingEnglish, language and the parts that make it up have a true home, where all questions about how to use the English language are resolved in the spirit of perfect - past, present, future and conditional - cooperation. How useful is Using-English? Well, it offers plenty of tools (like the free Grammar Glossary download) that will provide hours of fun, not to mention a broad education, to native speakers of English. In fact, UsingEnglish is so thorough, I can't figure out why registration, enabling users to take advantage of all its tools, is free (I've been bracing myself for an onslaught of "learn a new language overnight" type spam in my inbox, but nothing has come in yet). If you want to hone your own language skills, or your kids' language skills, you'll find UsingEnglish a most useful site. For example: You can access dozens of dictionaries from the UsingEnglish resources section (http://www.usingenglish.com/reference.html). Typing in the word "house" on the English Language Glossary line (top left) took me to a page with no fewer than 66 links to dictionaries with references to the word - including straight English definitions, a rhyming dictionary, encyclopedia articles, a variety of language translations (including Hebrew), business, financial, theatrical, medical dictionaries, as well as giving examples of how the word is used in each context. No question about it - UsingEnglish thoroughly covers the word "house," or any other word. Then there's the dictionary of phrases and idioms, the dozens of quizzes, articles on using English (how to write letters, essays, college admission letters, requests for grants, etc.), and the site's forums, where hundreds of users post questions every day about any and every English language-related topic under the sun. It wouldn't be hyperbole to say that UsingEnglish is one of the more useful sites on the Internet - in fact, it would be an understatement. Ds@newzgeek.com

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