The Race that Knows Joseph

I knew from the first I ever read of Dr. Popham that I liked his innovative, no-nonsense thinking.  I wasn't sure why until now:
I love hyphens. Always have. Always will. If used properly, hyphens make things easier to read. This is because hyphenated words let readers know there’s something still coming in a phrase that’s being read, so the reader should hold off a bit before deciding on the meaning of what’s being read at that instant.

He goes on to discuss the difference between formative assessment (read: test) and formative-assessment (the continual process of updating and improving instruction so it's as effective as possible) with the same intellectual aplomb visible in the first interview I read; yet I think that ultimately, I like him because he's a fellow grammar geek.

It's so easy to knock grammar -- and I'll admit that our language is more confusing and self-contradictory than any of the few others I've encountered.  But how lovely, how elegant and incisive it is to be able to express oneself with wit and specificity!  A typo-riddled e-mail may not render you a termagant, as it does me, but how many times have you become frustrated by another's inability to understand you?  It's not merely convention; it allows for a more precise and direct expression of your thoughts.

Mr. Safire is the demigod of this personal religion; I am merely a lowly disciple on her circuitous way to enlightenment . . .