Kevin Myers: Omigod, this linguistic gibberish is, like, so gross
Published 03/06/2011 | 05:00
There was a single, telling moment when Michelle Obama spoke to a group of inner-city London schoolgirls the other day: she said they must work hard to be different "from other girls".
She didn't say "than other girls", the common and lazy usage into which many people have slipped. She correctly used the preposition rather than the relative conjunction, which -- for example -- the comparative adverb "better" would have attracted: hence, "different from" and "better than".
And she did that because she understood the rules of grammar. Two generations after the civil rights movement, and slightly less after the professional emancipation of women, black American women like Michelle Obama and Condoleezza Rice show how it's done.