Human Error

From the current issue of the American Conservative:

Apparently the grammar program built into Microsoft Word comes equipped with ideology. Not content to arbitrate split infinitives and misplaced modifiers, the virtual schoolmarm scanned our cover piece and spat out a political judgment. Our author wrote, "The logic carries all the way down to toddlers and perhaps even fetuses, who can be treated as shoppers in potentia." Microsoft chided, "Use who or whom to refer to people. Use that or which to refer to anything non-human." Unable to query the grinning icon about its nettlesome non-human designation, we politely declined the advice and proudly acknowledge our "error."

Addendum (5/6/07): The who-that choice trips up even the elite among us. "[I]t's difficult to find someone that can really talk to the camera as if it was their friend," says Jack Comstock, vice president for television sales at QVC.

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