Date: Tue, 30 Apr 1996 08:39:28 -0400 From: David Muschell Subject: Re: I wish I may, I wish I might (revisited) >No, I'm not revisiting myself. but I thought the participants in our earlier >discussion might (and indeed MAY) be interested to know that it's the topic of >this week's Safire "On Language" column, under the header "May Day! Might >Day!" What set him off was a comment by Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief >of the U.S. News & World Report, that a certain Whitewater report "may well >have been written in invisible ink for all the attention it has had." In the >process of casting his semantic nets thither and yon for awhile, Safire refers >to Zuckerman's "misuse of MAY", which should have been "MIGHT". I suppose >it's just the prescriptivist version of the split we observed, with Safire >(like most of us) among the old fogeys and Zuckerman (although he presumably >can't use age as an excuse) among the innovators. Ah, the rule-makers and rule-defenders: we know that without them language would surely fall into anarchy! But should we scold Safire for using the phoneticized English version of the French "m'aider" just to get an attention-grabbing headline? Such purists must know that language and its rules never change...He might have been indicating a celebratory feeling about the fertility and burgeoning of language since the capital letters might be an allusion to tomorrow's more pagan festivities...Yes, that may well be. Forgive: I haven't had time to write in months! David