Cherlon Ussery • Linguistics

1 March 2022

Cherlon Ussery, Associate Professor of Linguistics

Cherlon Ussery professional portrait

“The next time you’re in the southern United States, you may hear someone say, ‘I might could go to the store,’ which is a perfectly grammatical sentence in some varieties of English. You will not, however, hear anyone say, ‘I can could go to the store.’ Speakers of Southern English know that might can precede could, but can cannot. Just like speakers of other varieties know that ‘I could have gone to the store’ is grammatical, while ‘I have could gone to the store’ is ungrammatical.

“All languages are governed by patterns. By examining segments of various languages, my students discover that what some people would call mistakes are actually predictable variations.”

If I Can Say It, It’s Not Wrong: A Brief Lesson in Linguistics from Professor Cherlon Ussery

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