The Grammarphobia Blog

No comment?

Q: I’m a web editor and I was wondering why you don’t allow comments on your blog. I would be curious to see what other readers have to say about some of your posts.

A: The reason Stewart and I do our blog as we do – a simple Q&A – is because this allows us to carefully edit and research each answer that’s published. (And, yes, it’s OK to put an adverb like “carefully” between the prepositional marker “to” and an infinitive like “edit.” If you disagree, check out this blog item.)

Our principal goal is absolute accuracy, though we occasionally fall short. Every once in a while, a reader points out the error of our ways, and we fix the offending blog item.

If we allowed free access and let everyone comment at will, the blog would be full of inaccuracies. Or we would be spending an inordinate amount of time correcting comments.

Too many language blogs are mere collections of misinformation. We want ours to be authoritative, and not a rumor mill.

While we’re on the subject of comments (or, rather, no comments), you may be interested in the early history of the verb “comment.”

When it entered English in the 15th century, the verb had a negative connotation, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. This early meaning, now considered obsolete, was to “devise, contrive, invent (especially something false or bad).”

The OED says we got the word from the medieval Latin commentare, meaning “to devise, excogitate (usually in a bad sense, of fraud or mischief).”

Although Stewart and I don’t let readers comment at will, we like to hear your comments. If you spot any errors, let us know. Keep us on our toes!

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