Thursday, April 20, 2017

It’s the Office Of Thesecretary

In December 2014, a student asked me whether it was acceptable to end a sentence with the word it. She had been told not to. Here was a zombie rule I’d never heard of, for which I (finally) discovered a source in an influential book of grammar instruction from 1795. Suffice it to say: it’s perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with it. And I was happy that my student believed me about it.

The post I wrote about ending a sentence with it continues to get visits every day, from all over. Even, yesterday, from someone in the Department Of The Interior, Office Of Thesecretary:

[They need to work on capitalization and proofreading.]

My thoughts about this detail in my blog stats:

It’s saddening that someone in a position of authority should be in the dark about it.

It’s reassuring that someone in a position of authority should be willing to look into it.

It’s alarming that someone in a position of authority (a staffer, no doubt) is relying on the Internets in such a free and easy way. (Notice that I’ve blotted out the IP address.) I wonder what else they might be looking up in the Office of Thesecretary.

It’s chilling to imagine the Interior sentences that might be ending with it. “We will eliminate it”? “We will destroy it”?

It’s disturbing to see something I’ve written prove useful to someone in the Trump administration. But public writing is public writing. One never knows, do one?
A related post
Were and was (Visits from the House and Senate)

[The #3 in the stat info makes it clear to me that the Google search had to do with terminal it and not, say, one or more of the proper names in the post. I don’t read stats closely — it’s luck that I happened to spot this visit.]

comments: 2

Geo-B said...

It's not my purpose to disagree with you, or set the record straight: I'm just offering my thoughts. I would't assume someone in authority looked this up; they probably just asked some lackey to do it. I would't want to avoid being useful to the administration. I don't want the present leader to be successful in his odious purposes (don't want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, don't want to stumble into a nuclear war, don't want to stumble into a new Syrian war, don't want to let the top money-earners avoid paying taxes). But I certainly want our country to succeed, to prosper, to continue.

Michael Leddy said...

I did say “a staffer, no doubt” — to me, that’s still someone with some kind of authority. (As opposed to, say, a student looking it up.)

I think what really prompted me to make this post is that I saw the search — which means that their online activity doesn’t involve a VPN. I believe in transparency in government, but that’s taking it too far. :)