Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/112

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A Desk-Book of

go the whole hog: An inelegant phrase used for "to go to the utmost limit." Carlyle traces the origin of this phrase from the Irish because in Ireland hog was a synonym for a ten penny piece, a coin once current in that country.

graduate: The use of this verb in the intransitive has been condemned by purists but is now well established. Thus, one may correctly say "He was graduated from a university" or, "He graduated from a university."

grammar: The phrases good grammar and bad grammar have been condemned as false syntax by some persons unfamiliar with the meanings of the word "grammar." One meaning recorded by the Standard Dictionary is "speech or writing considered with regard to its correctness; propriety of linguistic usage; as, he uses good or bad grammar."

The New York Herald (March 4, 1906) says: "Good grammar is one of those cheap vulgarisms which most offend the scholarly ear. A phrase is either grammatical or ungrammatical. It can not be characterized as either 'good' or 'bad' grammar."

The writer of the foregoing based his criticism on a misunderstanding. The word "grammar" is not like the word "orthography," a word made up of orthos, correct, and grapho, to write. Grammar does not carry with it the implication of correctness, and modern grammarians bear this out. Prof. Edward