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Quick Highlight: Not Likely

November 30, 2011

Today’s Quick Note really tickled my fancy. I sometimes think of myself as a bit of a grammar snob, but this article put me in my place!

The post, titled “A Likely story” in the Economist reflected on the misadventures of the adjective “likely,” which apparently is often misplaced as an adverb.

The article notes:

LAST week, as Americans around the country were making preparations for the annual celebration that commemorates our ability to sustain life on these shores, I received a tyrannical note from the mothership. I had previously written that “The next senator from Texas will likely be either David Dewhurst, currently the lieutenant governor, or Ted Cruz, a former state attorney.” That’s an ungrammatical use of “likely,” my editor objected—”likely” is an adjective, and I had used it as an adverb—not to mention a “vile Americanism and BANNED” in The Economist.  [all italics are mine, and denote a quotation]

This must be among my favorite online posts in recent weeks. The confluence of grammar snobbery, pedantic phrasing and elite journalism is too attractive to pass up. Take a quick look and see if you enjoy the story as much as I did.

From → Journalism

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