I think we often forget that we have a “borrowed” language. Over time our use of English has evolved and probably not for the better. I am the first to admit that my language skills are lacking. Anyone reading this and other postings can testify to that fact. I’ve always been a bit better with numbers.
I am a reader and always have at least one book in process. Despite my exposure to great word smiths my writing talent is stagnant. I am in awe of published authors.
However, there are a couple of commonly used phrases that make my skin crawl and both involve “dangling” participles:
“Where are you from?” Not only the participle “dangle” but what does this really mean? Where do you live or where were you born or where were you just before where you are now or…….. How about “Where are you living?” of “Where is your home?”
“Where are you at?” What is it with the use of “at”. Why is it needed? Wouldn’t “Where are you” suffice?
As time passes Americaneeze evolves. I have tremendous admiration for the language employed by our founding fathers. They had the ability to effectively and concisely convey thoughts and actions. The following is an excerpt from President Washington’s farewell address and concerned the dangers of the two-party system. (I sited this in an earlier post and it is well worth repeating)
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus, the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”