This website is the brain child of Rich Turner (Grammarian, Curmudgeon, Old Poop - aka The Mudge) who passed away in June 2011 after a brief battle with cancer.

While it still hosts a supportive community of "Friends of The Mudge" (see the message boards), the majority of the site is now frozen in time. The purpose of maintaining this site is to serve as a resource for people interested in learning about and understanding the English language. Feel free to browse, search, ask questions on the boards, or just read a few essays.

Grammar and Writing Tips – Essays and Articles – Message Boards (English Language and General Topics) – Curmudgeon's Blog and Grumpy Grammarian Column – Memorabilia – Grumbles – and Much More



 The contents of this site may not be published elsewhere without written permission of the webmaster or, in the case of contributors to this site, without the written permission of the author.

MESSAGE BOARDS (General Message BoardEnglish Language, ESL Board) allow users to interact on this site.  The General Message Board page is used for discussion of any topic (scroll down the page to access the board).  It can also be accessed via the General Message Board button on the left of any page.  Instructions for registration and links to other message boards appear on this page as well.

This site contains no advertising or promotional material.  Anyone who wishes to post such material here is required to pay a ridiculously exorbitant fee for the privilege.

SEARCH THE SITE:  Many of the pages have a search box (powered by Google) in the upper right-hand corner such as the one that appears on this page.  Type the word or phrase for whatever you are seeking and click the Search button. 

MAIN DIVISIONS OF THIS SITE are accessible by clicking on the index buttons to the left.  Following are quick links to subdivisions (see the Site Map for details). 

Writing:  Essays and Articles (composed exclusively for this site); Essay Archives (earlier essays); Memorabilia; Grumbles; Pet Peeves (about language misuse); Just for Fun.
Words and Grammar:  Writers' Guide; Grammar FAQs; Word and Usage FAQs (commonly confused words); Word Trivia; Words (vocabulary); ESL Notebook.
Personal, Family, and Photos:  Adventures in Acadia; Main Photo Albums No. 1, 2003, and 2005; Videos.
Hidden Pages:  Wit and Wisdom (quotations); Clippings (items from other sources).

The Grammar Curmudgeon's Final Posts

> 4/10/11 – The Big Brother Dilemma discusses freedom versus authority and why we are failing to achieve balance and compromise.
> 3/13/11 – The March-April edition of The Grumpy Grammarian is now online with a discussion of "The Holy Grail of Clarity" and some suggestions about what we need to do to achieve it. 
> 3/5/11 – "Social Networks: An Outsider's View" questions the value of the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
> 3/3/11 – Teachers are expressing anger at being made victims.  This edition of the Mudgelog explains why we have no sympathy.  Scroll down to the March 3 entry.
> 2/10/11 – "Unprepared for College" (in Essays and Articles) presents and discusses distressing data on graduation rates and achievement scores – and educators' denial that we have a problem.
> 2/1/11 – In the January-February Grumpy Grammarian , we discuss hyperbole (overstatement) and the importance of being more prudent in our choice of words.
> 1/31/11 – A Rotating Message Board, in which the topic will change from month to month, has been added to our message boards.  February's topic is economics.
> 1/23/11 – The Mudgelog for January 23 tries to present a rational, unbiased view of the reactions to the recent atrocity in Tucson, Arizona.
> 1/16/11 – A new article, " Revising Huckleberry Finn – and Other Academic Nonsense," goes beyond this new silliness to discuss what it suggests about education and educrats.
> 12/20/10 – Looking Toward 2011:  A Pessimistic Outlook asserts that the current economic mood in America does not bode well for the future.
> 12/18/10 – The December issue of The Grumpy Grammarian discusses dirty words.
> 12/14/10 – A new article, Music, Language, and the Future of Music, discusses the special language of music, appreciation of music, and fears about the decline of one of mankind's superb achievements.
> 11/13/10 – The November issue of The Grumpy Grammarian reflects on some of the characteristics of  language that make it entertaining and more powerful than we realize.
> 11/2/10 – An entry in the Mudgelog ("It's Election Day – Big Deal!") takes aim at Congress and tries to explain why we aren't exactly dancing in the streets.
> 10/30/10 – The Essays and Articles section now contains "Some Themes from The Joy of Grumbling" – an overview of some ideas that have surfaced while working on this manuscript.
> 10/14/10 – The October issue of The Grumpy Grammarian discusses propriety – how we decide what is proper or appropriate in using language.
> 9/1/10 – In the September issue of The Grumpy Grammarian, we try once again to combat what we are dubbing "Swamp Monster English."



Nothing makes a confirmed curmudgeon crankier than misuse of the English language, especially if that curmudgeon has devoted his adult life to studying and teaching English – and even more so if he has spent countless hours editing bad prose. This site is an outlet for an old guy who is tired of hearing teenagers punctuate every sentence with a half dozen likes, baffled by the apparent inability of many presumably literate adults to distinguish between it’s and its, and a little tired of explaining to college freshmen why “Mary and me went to the movies” is wrong. I hope that, in the course of venting, I can also contribute some useful information – and perhaps even add a little fire and wit to that dull-as-proverbial-dust subject, grammar.

As this project has developed, I have expanded the site to include many other features.  Though my principal (that's always principal as an adjective and never principle) focus is still English grammar and usage, I have incorporated many other features, such as the photo albums and photo-essays derived from our vacation outings.  More recently, though, I tend to post photos off-site in my Webshots albums.  My essays and articles (contained in several sections) cover a variety of topics, both serious and humorous.  Indeed, humor (albeit, my peculiar brand of humor) is an important ingredient here.

I have endeavored to make this site as navigable and user-friendly as possible. The buttons to the left link to the main sections; the Site Map itself describes briefly what each section contains.  Having utterly astounded my technologically challenged self by learning how to create links, I provide internal links wherever possible.  To save regular visitors the trouble of searching for "new stuff," I am very diligent about listing the most recent entries in the "What's New?" section (above on this homepage).  The Google Site Search (above and accessible via the third button on the left side of each page) is a handy tool for conducting an internal search for specific topics.

I can't cover everything, of course.  Thus, I have incorporated a Links for Writers section that gives an ongoing listing of some of the better writers’ references on the Internet.  The English Language Board allows visitors who register there to post or answer questions about grammar and usage.  The General Message Board is a forum for general topics of interest. 

Because this is meant to be a substantive site (yes, Virginia, it is correct to begin a sentence with because), I wanted to keep the so-called eye candy to a minimum.  However, I can’t resist the temptation to fool around with a few graphics and animations.  Besides, I’ll do almost anything to make grammar appear to be entertaining.  Inside this body are two minds – one that takes language very seriously and one that asks, “What good is it if you can’t have fun with it?”

Thank you for visiting.  If you don't find what you were looking for, please post a message on the Message Board (registration required).

My Credentials

I hold a B.A. (1958) and M.A. (1959) degree in English from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and did additional postgraduate work at the University of Texas.  After beginning my career as a college instructor, teaching mostly writing and introductory literature courses, I moved into copyediting and editing.  I worked for a few years as a proofreader for Opinion Research Corporation in Princeton, NJ; served as a literature editor for a new encyclopedia that was later acquired by Grolier; and finally became the supervisor of research editing at a market research firm in Princeton, until retirement a few years ago.  I taught English Composition as an adjunct professor at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ,  for more than twenty years but retired in June of 2010. 

Words and language have fascinated me all of my life.  I enjoyed writing from the start, and it has always been a hobby.  One of my current projects is the manuscript of a book of related essays to be titled The Joy of Grumbling.  I  have never been very successful with "creative" writing, finding my niche more in expository writing.  Perhaps because successful expository writing requires command of sentence structure and attention to the minutiae of grammar, I became a grammarian, a wordsmith, a verbivore. It was a self-perpetuating proposition.  The more I learned about English grammar, the more I discovered I had still to learn. Sharing the fruits of that journey is one reason for this site.

 In Memoriam -- Booper the Cat (1993 - 2009)

From the day that this site was founded, Booper had the honor of being its mascot.  More than that, she was a loving and much loved member of our family.  In the spring of 2009, she became very ill with a brain tumor.  We boarded her with the vet during our trip to Maine in early June, but when we returned, she had taken a turn for the worse.  She was mercifully put to sleep on June 14.   However, her spirit lives on within us, and she remains as the site's mascot in perpetuity.

WANT TO ASK A QUESTION OR ENTER A DISCUSSION?  The Grammar Curmudgeon offers five message boards – Grammar Discussion, Punctuation. ESL, Words Discussion (Semantics), and General Discussion (links are near the top of this page).  A Rotating Message Board (different subject each month) was initiated experimentally in January 2011, but it may soon close.  I check these boards daily.  Instructions for registration are on the General Message board page; registration on any board permits posting on all of them.


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