A little explanation here about the W.O.W. hiatus.
Yes, I have been very busy lately what with a trip out of state, The Papa's absence, end-of-year activities heating up, and trying to get everyone's teeth, eye, and medical appointments taken care of for the year.
But the real reason is that I am growing discouraged in the area of language.
I am definitely a language enthusiast though not a purist. I am not afraid of change in the language and I have loosened up on many things, especially where the traditional grammar begins to sound stilted in light of popular usage.
However, I see much of what's happening to the English language today as the result of exceedingly poor or non-existent grammar and spelling education, and the capitulation of dictionaries and language "authorities" for fear of being shut out of the popular market. The result is that for nearly every grammar or language travesty, you can find a dictionary or an expert that will pat your hand and tell you that it's okay, just do it however you feel best expresses what you want to say.
Consequently, for many of the W.O.W. columns I've written, I've gotten emails that tell me I'm wrong because the American Dictionary of You-Name-It at www.yourtheonlyexpertthatcounts.com says it's perfectly acceptable. I'm not kidding--there's hardly a thing I've written that can't be refuted if you really want to refute me. So I think that it's better for my own mental health to just concentrate on being the best writer and communicator I can be and let the rest of the world reduce itself to its lowest common denominator, metaphorically speaking.
You're perfectly justified if you want to call me a snob. That's not the same as being a purist. It just means that I will continue to value the language and its heritage. I am as likely as anyone else to get caught saying, "And I'm like, what?" but I will NEVER tell you it's correct, acceptable, or desirable to litter your speech or your writing with HUNDREDS of likes and y'know's. (There are people I know who are quite literally handicapped in communication because of their inability or unwillingness to work on this and they're passing it on to their children. I don't think they have any idea that people aren't even listening to what they say...they're counting the "you know"s.) And I will not tell you, no matter which dictionary has given in, that it's okay to say "irregardless" or "exetera" or "I'm nauseous." Though I have realized that it is time to let go of the complete ban on ending sentences with prepositions when the alternatives now sound contrived, I will continue to wince and will never approve "Where's he at?" I will not give even a slight nod to an abomination, no matter which former Beatle made it trendy, like "the world in which we live in." And I will not give you a passing grade on a paper on which you've chosen to eliminate all apostrophes because you can't remember where they go and don't even want to try.
Hmmm...does that sound like a rant? Probably so. Nevertheless, I am taking a break from offering unsolicited grammar advice because my blood pressure doesn't need the dressing-down from folks who are inclined to find some source to prove I'm wrong or out of date. I'll continue to sharpen my own skills and even to loosen up when I believe it's to the benefit of my readers, but I will (shall?) also continue exulting in the structure and the beauty of English.
Don't worry, folks. I'm in my mid-fifties already and I won't be around to hound you for long ;-)