Bad Writing Trends


Sharp and Pointed

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover

by Chaz Bufe (author of the revised and expanded American Heretic’s Dictionary, scheduled for June 2016)

Bad usage trends come and go in written English. (We’re not talking about, like, you know, spoken English.) Over the last few decades, one of the most prominent has been the use of apostrophes to form plurals, as in, “Idiot’s form the plural by inserting an apostrophe before an ‘s.'” Fortunately, this manner of forming plurals is now regarded almost universally as semi-literate, and it seems to be fading away.

Another really bad trend is use of wordy, pretentious “of” constructions in place of adjectives (mostly those ending in “ed”), as in “people of size” instead of “fat people,” or “horse of disease” instead of “diseased horse.” Fortunately, this type of construction also seems to be fading away. If the contrary was true, we’d likely find ourselves reading sentences such as, “The girl…

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