The Pedant and the Sewer

I’m offering this old joke as an encouragement to our posting members outside of the US, Canada, Australia and Britain who might feel that their English is inadequate. Doc Stevo and I were talking, this morning, about how much we appreciate the writing styles of people from around the world who use English that’s influenced by the syntax of their native languages. Syntax is ‘the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences.’ I look words up a lot. I used to assume that syntax is a surcharge for brothel customers.

A Persian farmer was walking home from his fields and passed a cesspit in which a mullah was quietly standing, having fallen in. The farmer said, ‘Need help?’ and the mullah, a pedant (a person who makes a show of knowledge) replied, ‘It would have been better had you queried, “Do you need any help?”’ The farmer shook his head and walked on.

Awhile later, a boy came along, noticed the mullah in the muck and said, ‘Want some help?’ The pedant said, with a finger raised, ‘It would have been correct were you to have said, “Would you like some help?”’ and the boy walked on.

As far as I know, he’s still standing there.

None of us, here, are pedants so please post from your heart no matter how poor you think your English is, okay?

~Don

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