Authority and American Usage Essays

1268 Words May 23rd, 2013 6 Pages
Authority and American Usage: Part 1

“Authority and American Usage” written by David Foster Wallace, poses an argument about the English language, and the different beliefs of its usage. This essay was written in defense of Bryan A. Garner’s, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. His argument in “Authority and American Usage” is the difference the between prescriptivism perception and the descriptivism perception (Linguistic terms that could easily be made into smaller, more understandable words for people like me). Since the beginning of time, language has evolved. From biblical times, to Shakespearean times, to present day; the English language has been continuously changing since it’s birth and has no intentions on stopping.
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Wallace’s argument uses a ton of rhetorical strategies to make his point of view more understandable and believable for his readers, which was sneakily manipulative on his part (Bravo, Wallace). This strategy is good for kids who don’t know what to think when they read long, confusing essays like this, such as myself. Through his use of rhetoric, he gives his readers the chance to use their imagination on what Wallace is trying to get across. This was smart in more ways than one. It causes less conflict among the color-blind and the spectrum-seeing people, and it gave him the chance to appeal to a wider range of people. The grey areas were covered when he told us stories about how his opinions formed, which made him a trustable and relatable author; something every author should strive for. When you really get in depth with what Wallace is trying to say, you notice something. Under the stories, BS, and extremely long words, the S. S. Wallace

(Like a boat) sails you to a point in time while reading essay where you realize… Wallace is the sneakiest snoot of them all. Although, yes, he does reveal himself to be a snoot, he does such an amazing job by taking the spotlight off of himself and giving it to one of many people he’s mentioned in his essay, his past experiences that he mentions in his footnotes, and one key person being Bryan A. Garner, author of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. “Garner is an interesting guy. He’s both a

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