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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 11, 2011 / 7 Nissan, 5771

Where It's At

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear Reader,

It was wholly a pleasure to receive your complaint about a headline over one of our stories in the Sports section the other day. The story was about Mike Anderson's early hesitation to come back from Missouri to coach men's basketball at the University of Arkansas, and the headline read:

Happy

where

he's at

"I realize that English evolves," you write, "but I still think this is wrong. Do you agree?"

Short answer: No.

The long answer comes in the form of a story I bet every kid from the South who's gone off to an Ivy League school has heard or told, probably both:

A new freshman from Arkansas is walking across Harvard Yard on his first day on campus.

"Excuse me," he asks an upper classman, "would you tell me where the library's at?"

The Harvard student, peering down his nose, replies: "Here at Harvard, we do not end sentences with a preposition."

"Oh," the kid from Arkansas says. "In that case, would you tell me where the library's at, jerk?"

I've cleaned up the punch line slightly for a family newspaper, but Gentle Reader will get the point.

If my answer-and-story isn't sufficiently definitive to settle the ever disputable question of whether to end a sentence with a preposition, here is the late great David Foster Wallace on the subject, carrying on in his ever-cataloguing, always dancing, sometimes maddening, regularly overwrought, and often enough obscure, wound-up and boring-beyond-words way, including those multisyllabic ones he dropped everywhere in the course of making a case.

What a ride through the American language he offered. He was a one-man verbal pyrotechnic.

Here is the crux of his comments on the fabled Avoid Terminal Prepositions rule. which really isn't one.

" ...First off, the Avoid Terminal Prepositions rule is the invention of one Fr. R. Lowth, an 18th-century British preacher and indurate pedant who did things like spend scores of pages arguing for hath over the trendy and degenerate has. The ATP rule is antiquated and stupid and only the most ayatolloid Snoot takes it seriously." (Snoot was his family's nickname for fanatics about proper English usage.)

"...Plus the apparent redundancy of 'Where's it at?' is offset by its metrical logic. What the at really does is license the contraction of is after the interrogative adverb. You can't say 'Where's it?' So the choice is between 'Where is it?' and 'Where's it at?' and the latter, a strong anapest, is prettier and trips off the tongue better than 'Where is it?' "

For me, the more rural Southern as well as Midwestern "Where's it at?" is preferable simply on the basis of euphony. It's got rhythm, it's got music, it's got the punch of punctuation at the end with that final at. Who could ask for anything more? You heard me what I said -- a phrase that beats the pallid alternative, "You heard what I said," all to heck.

I would trust the ear rather than eye in these matters. When in doubt, go for the phrase that rolls trippingly off the tongue. Speak the speech, I pray you, that sounds more like home -- and Shakespeare, too. Which is no mean combination for a fancier of the language.

Just remember it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, 'cause that's where it's at. Which sounds so much better to me than "That's where it is." Surely that impeccable linguist Louis Armstrong would agree.

Maybe my Southern origins are showing, but I've never had reason to hide them -- or my preference for the musical over the pedantic. Language, among other criteria, should not only communicate but sing and zing, not just explicate but exhilarate. (Snap your fingers at this point.)

What else can I say except be of good cheer? Which is not a bad guide to language -- or life.

Inky Wretch

Paul Greenberg Archives

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