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Were I but King of Anglophonia

Introduction and Contents


This essay started out in the imagination of Malcolm Erskine, a character in my novel, Business Secrets from the Stars. Malcolm daydreams about being the guest of honor at a science-fiction convention (highly unlikely). In his guest-of-honor speech, he would tell how he would use - and abuse - his monarchical powers, were he but King of Anglophonia. Malcolm's a jerk, but I like his idea, and so I decided to write this essay. Who knows - perhaps some day I'll be guest of honor at a science-fiction convention. (Highly unlikely.) - King David of Anglophonia

Queen Leonore of Anglophonia has made some changes and additions to this essay. In real life, in Denverland, she works as a tutor of German, Spanish, and ESL (English as a Second Language). Click here to see her résumé. (Yes, that's correctly spelled with two accent marks. Please do not confuse this French noun with the English verb resume.)

We will be adding bits to this essay as the inclination strikes us, and as we can spare the time from our tasks in the royal household and elsewhere. We invite you to check back from time to time to discover the fresh bits.

And of course, if you find any errors, please let us know imm- Ha, ha ha! Oh, that was funny! Just an example of royal humor.


Hail to our great and justifiably spreading empire! Hail, Anglophonia!

Sprawled across much of the world, this is the realm inhabited by those whose main language is English. One could argue that those who speak English reasonably well and use it often in daily life, but for whom it is not their first language, should also be included as loyal subjects of Anglophonia. But why be greedy? Odds are that their children or grandchildren will be part of the noble kingdom of Anglophonia. Anglophonia can wait.

Unfortunately, the kingdom is only a metaphorical one. In reality, English speakers are citizens of many different countries and are free to mangle the wonderful English language. There is no absolute monarch with the power to enforce the rules of English he prefers, or to create new ones, in order that the language spoken in Anglophonia will always please the King's ear.

Suppose there were such a king. And suppose I were he. Or, as I will permit myself to say, suppose it was me.

I wouldn't be an oppressive monarch, despite having absolute power. Generally speaking, my subjects would be free to do as they wished in non-language matters. Of course there would be exceptions, There would be unapologetic exercises of royal power. For example, the public performance of the vocal music of Richard Wagner would be outlawed. And so would the public performance of quite a wide range of other types of music. Which other types? Turn your car radio on too loud, and you'd find out.


These Web pages do not pretend to be a complete and general guide to proper English usage. No, no, no. And again, no. (Well, mostly no.) These pages intend above all to present my personal pet peeves, those particular misusages and quirks and sillinesses that make me grit and grind my teeth and imagine the horrible punishments I would inflict on those who commit the very worst transgressions, were I but King of Anglophonia.

Here, then, are the decrees of the King of Anglophonia.

Appended to them, here and there, are opinions and pronouncements from Queen Leonore, who shares most of her beloved king's pet peeves.

Table of Contents

Vive l'Angleterre    When in Rome, Speak Italian
Think before You Fad    Fresh Mint, Anyone?
Sir, You Are Not Pregnant    Well. Well, well. Well-well
Chinese Is Also an Adjective    Write with Ink. Incorporate with Inc.
Confusions, Euphemisms,
and Charged Words
   You Could Look It Up, but You Would Be
Well Advised Not To
Long Live the King
with a Capital K
   With All Appropriate Disrespect
Mistakes Were Made    Lie/Lay
Eat Kids!    Hypercorrection
Of Off and Of    As Far As
Oh, the Enormity!    Nicety
Literally    Officially
Key    It's Not It's. It's Its.

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