I’ve been a writer/journalist for 45 years, going back to working for the high school newspaper. My wife has been a teacher/educator for 35 years with an emphasis on English and English as a Second Language. She is a constant reminder of how little I know about the English language even though I write in that language every day.

She understands terms such as subject, predicate, preposition, adverb, adjective, and gerund (whatever that is), and she knows how to diagram a sentence. I haven’t a clue how to diagram sentences I write, or even if they are diagramable.

Most recently, she has begun scoring essays for a standardized testing service that includes evaluating how the writer “integrates interpretation of the text with text-based support.” Well, I’m happy for her because I have no idea what that phrase means much less how to do it.

One “rule” I vaguely remember from English is to never end a sentence with a preposition, which is something I am guilty of. It is something I don’t agree with. It is something I never steer away from. It is a rule that Mark Twain, my favorite author, also sought to violate as much as possible.

Twain has also provided me with my favorite quote: “It is a poor, uncreative mind that can’t come up with more than one way to spell a word.”

I never understand why the proofreaders here at the magazine don’t accept that wise adage.