Writers Read

One of the reasons it is so important to set up and maintain a regular routine of reading is that we have to put ourselves in front of—see and examine and estimate—the language that good writers write. Without models, it is terribly difficult, if not ultimately impossible, to achieve what we aspire to; with models, […]

Take a Stand

To think about language is to think about thinking, and the only qualification that pronouncement needs is that by language we mean prose, not poetry. Poetry is the work of our intuition, but prose is our everyday language, the way we speak and write to accomplish our day’s work and pleasure. The term prose originates […]


Would you retain the comma in this sentence: the president called the protesters, terrorists? The statement has some obvious heat underneath it, and we often justify a comma we include by saying that it is emphasizing the word it isolates. But if we let emotion overtop the bounds of grammar (in prose, at least, for […]