Photo by Missy Minear
Photo by Missy Minear

I’m Lisa McLendon, and I run the Bremner Editing Center at the University of Kansas journalism school. Before that, I spent a dozen years on newspaper copy desks after getting a doctorate in Slavic linguistics. I’m also a member of the American Copy Editors Society and serve on its Education Fund board.

As an editor, teacher, linguist and writer, I walk the “thin red(-pen) line” between prescriptivism and descriptivism. What does that mean? It means I think language needs to follow some standards in order to effectively communicate, but I also recognize that language is a living, changing entity and that obsolete rules, non-rules and distinctions serving only as shibboleths do no one any good.

For the purposes of this blog, I’m using the broader definition of “grammar”: not just morphology and syntax, but all the guidelines that govern language use, including spelling, punctuation and word usage. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Read my interview with Grammarist.

A note about “Muphry’s Law”

That’s not a typo: Muphry’s Law is the “law” stating that any given piece of writing that attempts to correct mistakes in language or offer advice on correct language use will itself contain an error. I know I will fall victim to this at some point, so go ahead, point and laugh when I do; I can take it. (Just don’t write “Your wrong” in the comments.)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Matthew Zabel says:

    “…(Just don’t write “Your wrong” in the comments.)”
    Sorry, but I might have to write “your wrong.”
    if I’m wrong, then it’s my wrong. If you’re wrong (which is rare), then that’s your wrong.
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.