Shaping up for National Grammar Day

John McIntyre previews the approach of National Grammar Day over at You Don't Say. He gives some sensible principles to keep in mind, including this one that I particularly liked:

  • "Individual stylistic preferences are that and no more. You may agree with H.W. Fowler that it is sensible to use that, generally, to introduce a restrictive clause and which, generally, to introduce a nonrestrictive clause, but it is not a rule, or even an unquestioned convention. It is an individual stylistic preference, like a taste for inserting commas to replicate the pauses of spoken language. You may want to restrict who to refer to people, that to animals and inanimate objects; but that is merely your preference, not a practice that you can oblige someone else to follow."