The Naked Vulnerability Of His Sentences
(pic from davidfosterwallace.com)
The grammatically whimsical author of Infinite Jest, the late David Foster Wallace, was, apparently, a prescriptivist. Blogger Amy McDaniel at HTMLGIANT recently posted what she claims is a "complete text of a worksheet from his class" (HT kottke) which is, basically, a grammar test which begins with the following admonition:
IF NO ONE HAS YET TAUGHT YOU HOW TO AVOID OR REPAIR CLAUSES LIKE THE FOLLOWING, YOU SHOULD, IN MY OPINION, THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT SUING SOMEBODY, PERHAPS AS CO-PLAINTIFF WITH WHOEVER’S PAID YOUR TUITION
Feel free to take the test yourself here, or to troll the answers folks are giving.
2. I’d cringe at the naked vulnerability of his sentences left wandering around without periods and the ambiguity of his uncrossed “t”s.
UPDATE: it's always nice to scoop Language Log. A day late and a dollar short, Chris Potts posts about the DFW grammar test here. Psst, my post title is wayyyyy more cleverer. thhhpppt!
UPDATE 2: More LL on DFW and his prescriptivist bent here.
UPDATE 3: Looks like scooping LL is becoming a habit for me (pats self on back).