One day a self-styled poet calls up and wants to know if it’s all right to use the phrase “hot diggity dog!”
The next day it’s an anxious writer who asks which is correct: silently or quietly. (Answer: It’s up to you.)
While many of us eke (not eek) out a living far from the grammar wars,a host of word lovers is on the front lines “where ignorant armies clash by night”— as Matthew Arnold wrote. These proud linguists are the volunteers who field questions at grammar hotlines and websites nationwide.
The on-call grammarians often are graduate students in college writing centers, although their ranks also include columnists and writing coaches. One list names dozens of grammar hotlines, but some are defunct.