Words to Live By
Something to think about
This is an entry in the Saturday series of Timeless & Timely called “Off the Clock,” where we focus on words, a quirk of history or literature, or something just plain fun. Make sure you don’t miss a single issue.
“We are such stuff / As dreams are made on” — William Shakespeare, 1610
Last week, this charming letter from elemental writing stylist himself E.B. White captured my attention when Letters of Note sent it along:
“The next grammar book I bring out I want to tell how to end a sentence with five prepositions. A father of a little boy goes upstairs after supper to read to his son, but he brings the wrong book. The boy says, “What did you bring that book that I don’t want to be read to out of up for?””
It reminded me that there was something I wanted to sound off on. Given that we discuss various elements of language here, I thought this was the place to let it all out.
What I Came Across
There are traps in the English language that are more easily fallen into than gotten out of. One of the easiest to get bogged down in are the rules that make it difficult for the person on the receiving end to understand what you’re talking about.