OAM asked Miss Gould to list a few of the violations of the
English language that most distress her. Her response:

Here are a few points of grammar and usage that I've run into in the last few days: there is an infinity to choose from.

1 Indirection. I am always trying to prevent it, and the Times story made that quite clear.

2 The restrictive and non-restrictive clauses are the second point I am always working on, and they are very easy to cope with: take the comma out if the clause is restrictive; put the comma in if it's non-restrictive. "She was looking for three strong young men who had carried packages for her yesterday" (obviously restrictive -- the same young men), and "She was looking for three strong young men, who could carry packages for her" (non-restrictive -- just any such men).

3 On the subject of "who" and "whom," some of my younger colleagues have trouble deciding which is correct -- "It is he whom I want to see" or "It is he I want to see." For some reason, people don't like to use "whom," and they often don't know that they can often avoid it by saying "who it is" instead, as in avoiding "I'll find whom you're looking for" by saying "I'll find who it is you're looking for."

4 I try to avoid improper sequence: "They headed for the street, where they found the house three doors down," needs "and there" instead of "where."

5 I also try to avoid repeating constructions within a sentence, like "It was in a town on a hill near a road from an airport."

6 I keep an eye out for changes of tense. Very often a conversation is reported to have begun "he said" [to come -- line cut off]

7 Other quote trouble involves mistakes like He said that he "was leaving soon. I have to get home early." The spoken words should start with He said, "I am leaving..." or else "I am leaving soon," he said, "I have..."

8 Now a list of various misuses I made notes on during the past week: