When Bad Words Go Gooder

Time magazine published a sidebar column tracing the history of a handful of words and phrases that have broken the rules of grammar and lived on in their improper form as acceptable formulations. One example is the word “contact,” which is now understood as a verb as well as a noun. The column describes those of us who care about grammar as “snapping their monocles” over change but we all understand that English is a living language and, like our children, changes over time, sometimes in ways that make us cringe. We still love you, Mother Tongue, you wily, complex, eccentric old thing.


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