Maddox Stops Preaching to the Choir

NW Arkansas writer Maeve Maddox has launched a new website called Bottomline English that combines reference articles on basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary with a daily post based on usage observed in the media.

At her new site, Dr. Maddox takes what some language writers might see as a more simplistic approach to language than has been habitual with her.

Here’s what she has to say about the new site:

In writing for and, I’ve tended to assume that my American readers who have progressed through high school have a grasp of basic English usage. As a result, I’ve written about topics that often require the reader to be familiar with certain grammar terms and concepts.

Many of my readers have shared my views about the value and pleasure of being able to speak and write a correct form of standard English. Others, however, have faulted me for offering to correct anyone’s English:

Don’t I know that the entire concept of “correct English” is oppressive, racist, elitist, and downright undemocratic?

I’ve been slow to catch on to the fact that the playing field has changed since I was in high school. I’ve decided that it’s time for me to stop preaching to the choir, and try to address the needs of a younger generation of native English speakers who do not venerate the idea of correct English for its own sake.

Plenty of other sites exist where language buffs can wrangle over the finer points of grammar and diction. BLE is not for language lovers.

It’s for native English speakers who understand that the ability to speak and write a standard form of English is a useful social and business tool.

It’s a barebones site that explains only the minimum of rules necessary to avoid the most common errors that can still create a negative reaction in potential customers or followers.

The daily posts illustrate various points of usage with actual examples seen or heard in the popular media, or seen in official correspondence.

The daily blog at is called Media English. Here’s a link to a recent post: “Open-mic” for “open mike” is a misspelling.

Maeve Maddox writes about popular culture, English usage, and education. Her most recent books are WORD RAGE, a guide to peaceful coexistence as American English-speakers, and THE FABERGE FLUTE, a cozy mystery set in 1980s London.

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