Why this website and blog? And why titled The Dean’s English?
My best short answer for those questions is that I believe one of the most important keys to effective living is effective communication. For Americans at least, a key to effective communication is developing a strong command of the English language, both spoken and written. I’ll refer to those as Standard English (SE) and Standard Written English (SWE).
My purpose isn’t to wag a long, bony finger in anyone’s face to make them feel bad about their use of language and grammar. Further, I fully realize that English is an ever-evolving language; I have no intention of preserving the current version in stone tablets. I do, however, firmly believe that some versions of spoken and written English are to be preferred over others. Thus my purpose here—in some ways my life’s purpose—is twofold: (1) to promote SE and SWE so that speakers and writers of English can communicate more effectively, and (2) to resist today’s cultural slide toward illiteracy and the extreme dumbing-down of language arts. Along the way, I’d like to help by copyediting a few things here and there (see my Copyediting Services page).
So why the title The Dean’s English? I’m glad you asked! It’s my tongue-in-cheek twist on The King’s (or Queen’s) English and a classic one hundred ten-year-old H. W. and F. G. Fowler book by that title. Further, a dean is an academic official—which I am not. But, at the same time I am. . . . uh, Dean, that is. Putting it all together, in my slightly warped mind, it just made sense to call this blog The Dean’s English.
I hope you enjoy my website and blog. I welcome your questions and comments.
*Credit is due the brilliant and quirky David Foster Wallace for this fun term.
My copyediting credentials
By profession, temperament, and long experience, I am an educator (college counselor, instructor, administrator, and researcher), with degrees in education, Bible and theology, and ministry leadership. In addition, I earned a Specialized Certificate in Copyediting from UC San Diego Extension. Since then I’ve copyedited dozens of projects for multiple clients, including book manuscripts, journal articles, cover letters, master’s theses, and website content—with many repeat clients. (See a sampling of Testimonials.)
Personal stuff (if you’re still awake)
I am a bibliophile and a collector of books—not rare ones, mind you, although I wouldn’t mind owning a few if I could afford them. I have more books in my home library than I could read in two lifetimes, but that is what it is. For fun and relaxation—and to stay sharp professionally—I am constantly reading books and journal articles on language, grammar, usage, and writing (and a few other genres). See My Bookshelf for more on that. I also enjoy Stephen King’s books, baseball-themed books, and historical works, such as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. Let’s just say I’m a reader.
For mindless relaxation I have been known to strum an acoustic guitar, play the addicting board game Sequence and watch movies with my wife (especially during the year of COVID, when we couldn’t go anywhere), laugh with my grandkids, cheer for the Dodgers (the 2020 World Series champs), and eat cinnamon rolls and clam chowder at California’s Central Coast. I’ve also been known to play a stats-based baseball board game or two (which I discuss in my book).
In 2021, besides publishing a significantly revised and expanded second edition of Nothing About Baseball is Trivial in late March, my first The Dean’s English book on language, grammar, and usage should be available early fall (title yet to be decided). I hope you’ll want to read one or both of them.