A polite correction

A reader writes:

I know how you feel about correcting others’ grammar, but I’ve been noticing a particular recurring mistake for years. I just need to get it off my chest, as it always immediately distracts me from what you’re writing. (I’ve read both your blogs and your column for as long as you’ve written them.) You write “here’s” or “there’s” when the construction should be plural (“here are” or “there are”). A recent example is your use of “Here’s palettes…” in the entry of 4/13/2011.

Obviously I mostly enjoy your writing, or else I wouldn’t continue to read. I just hope you might be more mindful of this in the future.

Thank you! This is an apt correction, politely delivered. My subjects and verbs may not always agree, but I can’t argue with what this writer points out. I will try to be more aware of here’ses and there’ses in my writing. (I suspect the problem has to do with finishing a different sentence on the screen than I had begun writing in my head.) And correcting the writer of a public blog is different than interrupting a friend in the middle of a dramatic or comedic tale in order to nitpick her grammar.

[I do, however, continue to reserve the right to use “they” as a singular when necessary. I realize it’s technically incorrect, but it seems more natural and euphonious than alternatives. So don’t bother trying to reform me on that.]

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2 Responses to A polite correction

  1. DavidJ says:

    Using “they” as the catch-all to cover “he or she” is a comfortable and natural usage, and doesn’t suffer from the usual complaint of being sloppy. Any pedant who objects to it should find something ugly, offensive, or confusing to object to.

  2. Jerry says:

    Epicene “they” goes back to Shakespeare and is in common use. What’s not to love?

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