Posts Tagged: steven pinker

Greatest Hits of the Heart

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Patience. Curiosity. Repetition. Looking again and again. Not imposing a story line. Letting composition emerge through pattern, rhythm, shape, sound, movement. Occasionally … you hit upon a moment of grace. You can’t plan for it. You just have to practice enough so that you’re ready when it comes. The Atlantic has compiled a list of […]

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Stephen Pinker, Deplorer of the Dangling Modifier

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After having written 800 pages on torture, rape, world war, and genocide, it was time to take on some really controversial topics like fused participles, dangling modifiers, and the serial comma. Over at the Guardian, Steven Pinker defends his choice to fight the good fight against solecisms. (Lest you presume he prioritizes syntax over diction, check […]

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The Rules are There

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In his new book The Sense of Style, brain scientist Steven Pinker calls for a relaxation of English grammar rules. While the Daily Beast’s review praises Pinker for rejecting the false dichotomy between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, the New Yorker argues that we need rules to communicate. No word yet on using the wrong version […]

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Grammar As You Like It

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Everybody has that one friend who insists they know good grammar. They’re probably wrong—Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker insists strict rules just don’t matter because language is fluid. Mother Jones explains the grammatically anti-authoritarian position: …language is never set in stone; rather, it is a tool that is constantly evolving and changing, continually adding new […]

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