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October 31, 2004

Halloween Grammar Lesson

The scariest thing for some of us is Texas grammar. Here, on the night of Halloween and the cusp of the historical defeat of fascism, I offer a simple grammar lesson to my fellow Texans:

Do not use this opening for any sentence: "The reason is because..."

Why? The reason is that it is a faulty construction. See "that" in my previous sentence? It begins a noun clause, one of two choices for what can follow "The reason is..." The other is an adjective, like "weak" or "logical."

So, you can say "The reason is that we were running late" or "The reason is plausible." You can even say "The reason is we were running late" because "that" is understood.

"Because" joins parts of a sentence that can stand as sentences themselves, like "She left him because he cheated on her." Notice the italicized parts could be complete sentences. You can't say just "The reason is" and have it be more than a fragment; therefore, you can't join it to other sentence parts with "because."

For more grammactical guidance, check out everything you always wanted to know about subordinating conjunctions and linking verbs.

People like me are labeled "grammar nazis" on the web, but nobody tells you these things once you're out of school, so I thought I'd throw it out there.

Someone whose says "goo" and "pffft" to all that grammar stuff has new pics

Posted by tat at October 31, 2004 08:43 PM