Magazine September 21, 2020, Issue

A New Socratic Dialogue: Part 1 of 3

A student attends a virtual class as limited in-person learning resumes at Wilson Primary School, Phoenix, Ariz., August 17, 2020. (Cheney Orr/Reuters)

It’s hard for us now to understand just how obsessed English speakers were with grammar in the 18th and 19th centuries. The educational system was so preoccupied with it that the lower schools acquired the name grammar schools — a term that reached the height of its popularity in the 1830s but over the next century fell off dramatically. In 1966, the president of the Linguistic Society of America wrote that “little room has been left in the English curriculum for the study of grammar per se.” The medieval curriculum — which consisted of grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the trivium)

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Bryan A. Garner — Mr. Garner is the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, Garner’s Modern English Usage, and The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

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Law & the Courts

The Judicial Branch Ragnarök Is Upon Us

As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Judicial Branch Ragnarök Is Upon Us

As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More

The Arson Party

About that peaceful transfer of power . . . I do not have access to my friend Mario Loyola’s Donald J. Trump super-secret decoder ring, but I am inclined to accept Loyola’s explanation that what President Trump was trying to say, but couldn’t quite manage to say, was the usual witless Trump trolling -- ... Read More

The Arson Party

About that peaceful transfer of power . . . I do not have access to my friend Mario Loyola’s Donald J. Trump super-secret decoder ring, but I am inclined to accept Loyola’s explanation that what President Trump was trying to say, but couldn’t quite manage to say, was the usual witless Trump trolling -- ... Read More
Elections

What’s at Stake in 2020

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
Elections

What’s at Stake in 2020

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Is a ‘Climate Lockdown’ Next?

You knew they would try to pivot off the draconian COVID policies and use climate change as the pretext to deploy the same rigid controls over our lives. Now, perhaps a trial balloon is being floated for a “climate lockdown.” The noxious idea is that we are at (yet another) tipping point, and that unless ... Read More
Energy & Environment

Is a ‘Climate Lockdown’ Next?

You knew they would try to pivot off the draconian COVID policies and use climate change as the pretext to deploy the same rigid controls over our lives. Now, perhaps a trial balloon is being floated for a “climate lockdown.” The noxious idea is that we are at (yet another) tipping point, and that unless ... Read More