“Sometimes I wonder: if the people who make up style sheets and enforce them are so damn fond of arbitrary and indefensible “rules” not grounded in usage, even the usage of the intellectual elites, why don’t they just invent some? Say, your press won’t publish any word with the letter “z” in it, or any sentence that begins with a vowel letter, or any occurrence of the pseudocleft construction, or the sequence “is for” (no matter how it arises)? I can think of hundreds of entertaining “rules” of this sort. You could hire people to enforce them, and make every book published by your press ENTIRELY CONSISTENT with them. And then schoolchildren everywhere could be drilled on these “rules”. Your press could go down in history.
Hey, John Dryden did it for stranded prepositions. Some still-unidentified person(s) did it for possessive antecedents for pronouns, less than a century ago. There’s plenty of territory still available. Talk it up to your board.”
If you are interested in why he said this, start here:
Don’t do this at home, kiddies!
then go here:
What I currently know about which and that
and here if you want:
The people from the CCGW are here to see you
and finally to the one linked above:
Five more thoughts on the That Rule
He is so right on so many levels.