My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Myriad As a Noun?

We also require all our authors write only "missives"
instead of letters, and ask everyone how the 
"day/afternoon/evening finds them"
instead of just saying hi.
It's a small price to pay to have a
"Simply The Best"/"You're The Best" mashup
play over the P.A. system whenever one of
our writers walks into the clubhouse.
Yes, Virginia, you CAN use myriad as a noun! (And not just like that.)  

I love The New Yorker. I do. Though I especially their weekly offering of short fiction, TNY helps me look like I eruditely understand the nuance and complexity of news in a world where most people's current events awareness comes from Facebook macros (posted by an insular bubble of their friends...who haven't blocked or been blocked by them....as part of an algorithm that shows you more of what you "like.") The New Yorker offers smart writing and good journalism.

However, sometimes The New Yorker is on the "chic" side of linguistic kerfuffles lest their reputation for being the biggest ponces in periodic literature be endangered. The apparently react to the accusation that linguistic elitism is classist (and often racist) by hopping into their Audis and driving off to play tennis. Their recent very noticeable scourge of any forms of myriad as a noun is a pretty good example. Every issue has myriad incidences of the word only ever as an adjective, even though as Merriam-Webster attests, there are a myriad of precedents for its use as either noun or adjective:

"Recent criticism of the use of myriad as a noun, both in the plural form myriads and in the phrase 'a myriad of,' seems to reflect a mistaken belief that the word was originally and is still properly only an adjective.... however, the noun is in fact the older form, dating to the 16th century. The noun myriad has appeared in the works of such writers as Milton (plural myriads) and Thoreau (a myriad of), and it continues to occur frequently in reputable English."

Maybe they're all too busy sipping brandy in the cloakroom to bother investigating the actual origins of their snobbery. Or maybe they know that they are just SO. FUCKING. GOOD! at print journalism (in a world where it is very nearly dead) that we just won't be able to quit them, no matter how eccentric and anachronistic they become.

My myriad proclivities are redeemed. (See what I did there?)

Or as I say when I'm NOT reading The New Yorker: "Neener neener!"

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