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A brief treatise on the art of being a southerner
Dick Yarbrough
Occasionally, I will drop in a comma where it doesn’t belong or fail to associate phrase modifiers with the nearest preceding noun and other stuff like that to see if you are paying attention. Trust me, I do this on purpose. I happen to be an expert on the subject (or is it predicate? I can’t remember which) of the proper use of the English language. Many of you are quick to point out my (wink, wink) errors. This is my way of ensuring you are reading the column without the cost of doing a survey. There are also the calls to the editors wanting to know why they publish such unsophisticated drivel on their editorial pages, but I tend not to count those. I just hope the editors don’t, either. I recently heard from a reader who asked whether I had meant to use a possessive as opposed to a contractive word in one of my columns. That was an excellent question and one that I plan to answer as soon as I have found a place to put my dangling modifier. In his note, he indicated that he was a recent Northern transplant who was “having some trouble adjusting to Southern mores, values and habits.” He has obviously done some adjusting because he said he enjoys my columns. That is not usually the first thing I hear from a Northern transplant.

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