Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” and Prescriptive Grammar
Weird Al Yankovic’s latest album, Mandatory Fun, showcases his knowledge of grammar with the song “Word Crimes,” a parody of last summer’s controversial hit “Blurred Lines.” Among his peeves, Weird Al discusses the use of literally, whom, casual text speak, and apostrophes. Linguists view Weird Al’s new song as a teaching moment, though perhaps not of the variety that language enthusiasts might expect. On Language Log, Ben Zimmer stresses that Weird Al’s …
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Origin of prescriptive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
making or giving directions, rules, or injunctions
sanctioned by long-standing usage or custom
derived from or based upon legal prescriptiona prescriptive title
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
1748, from Late Latin praescriptivus, from praescript-, past participle stem of praescribere (see prescription). Or formed in English from archaic prescript "a direction" (1530s), from Latin praescriptum.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper