You were thinking another plural noun perhaps, but I was most definitely thinking grammar. Especially since my One and Only Squeeze informed me she reads my blogs. And I've mentioned how admiring she is of Lorena Bobbitt.
Anyway, grammar. On my reference book shelf reside The Chicago Manual of Style, foreign language dictionaries, thesauri, and two books I bought second hand in my high school junior year. One of the two is a book of synonyms, antonyms, and prepositions. The other is Writing handbook.
At any rate, when I have a grammar question, I generally reach for one of those two ancient tomes first. Then I check the answer against the Manual of Style. The handbook is half as thick as the Manual of Style, but it weighs the same and the font is bigger. I find that it is easier to find the answer to a particular question in the older books. I could, without too much trouble, find out how many words were in the "official" English language dictionary in the early '50s as compared to now, acknowledging that the language has grown, evolved along with technology and the population of humans on Earth. I think, however, it is sufficient to say, the language has evolved. Through the evolutionary process, I wonder if words pick up extra connotational baggage. So I kind of like the idea of going back to a time when the language wasn't so complex for answers to grammar questions.
Recently, I read Aristotle's Poetics. Quite something to read an analysis of poetry, drama, rhetoric, and prose back when those things had just gotten formalized to a certain extent. Perhaps that's why I'm fond of my old grammar books. Because they are from a time when language was simpler, purer.
Or perhaps it's because I've had these books and used them for fifty-seven years. Perhaps familiarity has bred content.
Well, at any rate, for writers, it is worthwhile, in my opinion, to have an older grammar book and to read the Poetics
John Zerr is the author of four novels, The Ensign Locker, Sundown Town Duty Station, Noble Deeds, and The Happy Life of Preston Katt.
Follow John's blog (below) and receive updates via email:
John on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter