In their ongoing attack on clear and precise grammar, professors attack the one book that promotes both—Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.
In a recent online discussion, one professor claims that “Richard Ohmann’s “Use Definite, Specific, Concrete Language” (waaaay back—CCC 1979, I think) is a brilliant corrective to Strunk & White’s injunction of the same title (and for more Strunk & White bashing, the blog Language Log is *fantastic*, I won’t teaching a language/style/grammar course without it)[sic, I have to use that a lot when quoting professors.]”
The attacks on Strunk & White are a regular feature at MLA conferences, that is, when the Modern Language Association deigns to discuss language at all. In fact, the above missive emanated from an MLA member.
Ohmann himself has been something of a mainstay at MLA meetings. He is the author or editor of a number of books and collections including English in America: A Radical View of the Profession.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org