Showing posts from September, 2023

This Grammatical Grouse Is Making Me Whomsick, says Griselda Heppel

On holiday recently, I ended up reading the newspaper more than usual. (Books too, which was far more pleasant an activity.) This was all down to a bad back, which had the twofold effect of stopping me from swimming and increasing my general grumpiness. I share this (as they say) by way of an apology for what follows… though I’m not really sorry.  You, on the other hand, may be, if you stay to the end of a grammatical grouse that has been brooding in my breast for years.  ‘An arrant pedantry up with which I will not put’ Sir Winston Churchill No, it’s not the split infinitive. Nor ending sentences with a preposition (I’m with Winston Churchill on that one, the rule against doing so being An Arrant Pedantry Up With Which I Will Not Put). It does have to do with prepositions, though, indirectly; but mostly it centres on a supposed elegance of style popular in the loftiest newspapers, and which is simply grammatically wrong.  The soothing

All Those Funny Names... by Susan Price

Elfgift by Susan Price Elfgift exists because its original publisher, Scholastic, asked me to write something for their Young Adult fantasy series. I like fantasy. I also love mythology and history (the further back, the better). Mix all this together in my head and Elfgift emerges. I was once asked, in a school I was visiting, if I’d made up ‘all the funny names’ in Elfgift .  The questioner had found them difficult to say and remember— and, of course, fantasy writers are prone to making up unpronounceable, funny names. — Jxxx!&gk, meet Slpadsim. But no. The funny names in Elfgift may be hard to remember and pronounce but they are all real Anglo-Saxon names.   Ebba , the name of the slave heroine, means ‘strong.’   Wulfweard , the name of one of the heroes, means ‘Wolf Fate.’ Weard, wyrd or weird originally meant something like ‘fate’ or ‘destiny.’ The Norns, the Norse Fates, worked at a loom, ‘weaving our weirds.’ Although 'weird' is beginning to mean simply