Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NY Times Wedding Profile Ignites the Internet: Grammatical and Medical Implications

So there’s this big dustup about a couple whose wedding was profiled in the NY Times on Sunday. It seems in the process of discovering they were soul mates, they broke up two marriages, both with children, the two couples had been friends and blah, blah, blah. The Times had to shut down the comments section of the story because of the furor.

Then Slate posted some sort of blog about it and among the comments is a biblical reference by a person with the apparent pseudonym “Guest.” [Or maybe it was Christopher Guest but I doubt it because he likely would have known better.] Anyway, include in Guest’s numerous ramblings was this “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.”

Forget about the wedding. I have to unload about the comment. The exhortation “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone” is from the Book of John something:something. Various versions of the passage exist [Google it yourself and see]. But the correct way to say this is “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.” If you don’t believe me, try this. Delete the clause “who is without sin” and say what remains “Let he throw the first stone.” Can you appreciate that it just don’t sound right?

By the way, two comments by others suggested the bride and groom are narcissists. Please don’t forget that narcissism is no longer a disease. It’s been relegated to the status of just being a very annoying personality trait.


Anonymous said...

Just because you think it sounds weird doesn't mean it is wrong. For example, if someone asks "Is that you in the photo?", and it actually is you, and you want to respond truthfully, you should say "It is I" or "That is I".

In the case mentioned in your post, I am not certain what the grammatically correct statement is. It seems like the subject of the sentence is an unnamed force doing the letting, and the object of the letting is a man, making "him" correct. I will look into it.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I think it sounds weird and it is wrong. The construction cannot be anything other than "let him..."

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