More of the same

In order further to defend myself from the charge of grammar fascist (which I’m, like, so not; I just hate it when people accuse anyone who speaks grammatically of being a snob), I’ll say that I think J.C.’s point in the recent NB column of the TLS (a column of which I am usually an admirer) is rubbish. Seeking an example of the ‘dislocated adverb,’ J.C. tells us that

the dedication to Forever and Anon, a collection of prose and poetry by “Anonymous,” edited by Gerry Hanson, reads: “For Jill, who, happily, is anything but anonymous.” Jill is probably happy not be anonymous; it is equally probable that Mr Hanson means “fortunately.”

No doubt Gerry Hanson invites chastisement for the title of his collection, the conceit of anonymous authorship, and overuse of the comma. But honestly! Maybe Hanson did mean she was happy not be anonymous. I mean, isn’t it likely that they discussed the conceit and she said “I’m happy not be anonymous”? Or maybe he does mean “fortunately.” But why shouldn’t it be the case that what is fortunate for her is happy for him, and what is happiness for him is happiness for her? The fact is that J.C. is clutching for an example of the ‘dislocated adverb’ that is other than ‘hopefully,’ and can find nothing happier or more fortunate than this poor fellow’s declaration of love.  It’s pathetic, and snobby, and rude.


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