My challenges in grammar are only exceeded by those in math. I still remember how crestfallen I felt after struggling to get down some rule of New Testament Greek only to hear those four horrible words, “Except in cases of.”
I take some small comfort in the fact that I am not alone. Sometimes my inquiries correct my misunderstanding. Sometimes they correct the other person’s misunderstanding. And sometimes we agree to disagree and have the dictionaries and lexicons to prove our alternate approaches.
In July 1955 longtime correspondent Mary Van Deusen penned a short note to C. S. Lewis where she discusses fasting, communion, and other matters of faith. She also makes a passing reference to someone rebuking her for ending a sentence with a preposition. Lewis, who knew a little something about grammar, fired back with a defense that aptly illustrates his point,
“Don’t let anyone bully you into avoiding sentences with a preposition at the end! It’s an arbitrary rule that most great writers took no notice of. The Authorized Version [King James Bible] and E. Burke thought a preposition a very good word to end with. So there!”1
I wish I read that before.
“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.” – Genesis 11:1.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 630.