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For pedants only

Margo 06 Oct 01 - 06:32 PM
AliUK 06 Oct 01 - 07:49 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Oct 01 - 09:21 PM
AliUK 06 Oct 01 - 09:34 PM
Helen 07 Oct 01 - 12:21 AM
wysiwyg 07 Oct 01 - 12:23 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Oct 01 - 03:30 AM
Wyrd Sister 07 Oct 01 - 02:28 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Oct 01 - 05:23 PM
Noreen 07 Oct 01 - 05:52 PM
pavane 07 Oct 01 - 05:58 PM
Lanfranc 07 Oct 01 - 05:58 PM
Noreen 07 Oct 01 - 06:05 PM
Willa 07 Oct 01 - 06:18 PM
Snuffy 07 Oct 01 - 06:22 PM
toadfrog 07 Oct 01 - 06:27 PM
Snuffy 07 Oct 01 - 06:29 PM
Noreen 07 Oct 01 - 07:10 PM
Paul from Hull 07 Oct 01 - 07:40 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 07 Oct 01 - 09:53 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Oct 01 - 11:17 PM
Haruo 08 Oct 01 - 03:16 AM
Murray MacLeod 08 Oct 01 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Steve Parkes 08 Oct 01 - 06:38 AM
Gervase 08 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM
Gervase 08 Oct 01 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Kit Kat 08 Oct 01 - 07:57 AM
Trevor 08 Oct 01 - 10:59 AM
Grab 08 Oct 01 - 11:30 AM
Wyrd Sister 08 Oct 01 - 02:31 PM
Willa 08 Oct 01 - 06:07 PM
Snuffy 08 Oct 01 - 07:41 PM
Snuffy 08 Oct 01 - 08:14 PM
Haruo 08 Oct 01 - 10:12 PM
Amos 08 Oct 01 - 10:50 PM
Haruo 08 Oct 01 - 11:19 PM
Grab 09 Oct 01 - 09:03 AM
Orac 09 Oct 01 - 09:34 AM
Amos 09 Oct 01 - 09:41 AM
GUEST 09 Oct 01 - 01:37 PM
Whistle Stop 09 Oct 01 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Celtic Soul 09 Oct 01 - 03:07 PM
Liz the Squeak 09 Oct 01 - 03:10 PM
Wyrd Sister 09 Oct 01 - 03:15 PM
Willa 09 Oct 01 - 04:31 PM
Mr Red 09 Oct 01 - 05:11 PM
wysiwyg 09 Oct 01 - 09:06 PM
Steve Latimer 09 Oct 01 - 09:51 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Oct 01 - 12:55 AM
Whistle Stop 10 Oct 01 - 07:51 AM
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Subject: For pedants only
From: Margo
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 06:32 PM

I subscribe to Michael Quinion's newsletter regarding his site "World Wide Words". I was particularly amused by this:

Out There: Apostrophe Protection Society ------------------------------------------------------------------- While we're on the subject of the IgNobel Awards, we must mention the retired British journalist John Richards, who earlier this year founded the Apostrophe Protection Society. His aim is "preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark in all forms of text written in the English language". You may feel, as I do, that he has given himself a hard task. However, he will be heartened by the award of the IgNobel Literature prize on Thursday for his efforts to "protect, promote and defend the differences between plural and possessive". You can learn more on his Web site at , where you may see pictures of some egregious British examples of the greengrocer's apostrophe.

He's got a lot more great and interesting stuff regarding etymology. I think his site is in the links page here at Mudcat, but here's the address anyway: http://www.quinion.com/words/index.htm

enjoy, Margo


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: AliUK
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 07:49 PM

great site. As an EFL teacher it got me going.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 09:21 PM

There is a daily feature in the St. Paul Pioneer Press called Bulletin Board, of which I am a faithful reader and occasional contributor. There, they often refer to the "Apostrophe Redistribution Center." Here are three recent items:

Oopp's! Notes Mutti:
"Item for the Apostrophe Redistribution Center:
"Seen painted on the back of a Yellow Taxi, a sign soliciting driver applicants to call their phone number reads 'YOUR'E HIRED!' "

Oopp's! Here's ck of parts unknown:
"Anyone missing any apostrophes? Today's ad in the Marketplace section of our favorite newspaper reads: 'Wally McCarthy Say's KEEP AMERICA ROLLING! 0% APR FINANCING ON ALL NEW PONTIAC'S AND GMC'S.'
"Yikes!"

Oopp's! From The Wordsmith of St. Paul:
"Does the Apostrophe Redistribution Center have a branch office at the Pioneer Press? [Bulletin Board notes: There used to be one -- until the entire staff accepted early-retirement packages.] If not, please arrange for the establishment of one immediately.
"A Sunday headline: 'Protestors' shift focus from anti-globalization to anti-war after Sept. 11.'
"In Monday's Express section [in a "Parenting" article by John Rosemond]: 'Television is potentially toxic to children because it is, by it's nature, graphic.' "


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: AliUK
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 09:34 PM

see this is the kinda thing that confuses my students. I teach them all the correct stuff and then they go to an english speaking country to study or work and get totally confused. I'm all for colloqualisms, but bad english. Never. ( says he sheepishly using his grammar check)


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Helen
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 12:21 AM

So what is the cure for apostrophitis? I've been trying to make an impact on my *adult* university and vocational ed students for years but it just gets worse.

I agree about the apostrophes being redistributed. The rule seems to be "when in doubt put it in...if you think of it at the time" or "if you think about an apostrophe then use it, whether it needs it or not, but if you don't think about one then you probably needed it".

The other rule is to get a glazed/dazed look on your face, and look really annoyed whenever a teacher/trainer mentions the word "apostrophe". There is nothing in the world quite like that palpable disdain from a class of students.

Helen


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 12:23 AM

Apostro'phe? Izzat Irish?

Mudcat-- its bipedant this evening.

~S~


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 03:30 AM

I saw a sign for 'hair weave's and plating' yesterday - I laughed so hard, everyone on the bus stared at me, but I couldn't explain why, half of them didn't even speak English!

Love to have plated hair.... nice bit of silver??

LTS


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 02:28 PM

Reminds me of a favourite sign I used to see, somewhere near Ilkley I think: "For Sale - Log's eggs"


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 05:23 PM

"Log's eggs" - what does that mean?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 05:52 PM

A farm, selling logs and eggs, but because of the possessive apostrophe it appeared that they were the log's eggs for sale?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: pavane
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 05:58 PM

You have my support (and probably King Edward's Potatoe's too!)


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Lanfranc
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 05:58 PM

It means that an apostrophically challenged smallholder sells both logs and eggs.

Or he (or she?) could be a woodcarver specialising in ovals.

It doubt it, however!

How about punishing those who start a sentence with "But", instead of using "however"?

I also wish it were possible to punish misuse or omission of the subjunctive.

But then, I am only an erratic pedant!

Or is the latter an oxymoron?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 06:05 PM

A ranting erratic pedant, Alan?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Willa
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 06:18 PM

"The widespread public belief that 'but' should not be used at the beginning of a sentence seems to be unshakeable. yet it has no foundation. In certain kinds of compound sentences, 'but' is used to introduce a balancing statement. In such circumstances, 'but' is most commonly placed after a semi-colon, but it can legitimately be placed at the beginning of the following sentence, and frequently is."
Fowler's Modern English Usage
Willa (Tongue in cheek!)


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 06:22 PM

I demand that the subjunctive be restored to it's rightful place in the language (but I could'nt care less about apostorphe's)

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: toadfrog
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 06:27 PM

"Quotation marks" are an even greater annoyance. They even made it into "Zippy the Pinhead"!


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 06:29 PM

Who he?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 07:10 PM

Zippy, Bungle's friend?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 07:40 PM

*G*


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 09:53 PM

I thought a pedant was something you hang round your neck on a chain.john (confused!)


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 11:17 PM

Welcome to the world of Zippy the Pinhead. (Are you having fun yet?)


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Haruo
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 03:16 AM

You sure a pedant isn't a foot-powered insect? Or maybe a pismire with a sexual thing about kids?

Liland

PS: My own gripe is the use of "you and I" for "you and me", a grammatical faux pas to which my pastor is particularly prone, which is why I tend to skip church. He doesn't just say, "God is incredibly deeply committed to you and I" (a frighteningly widespread usage these days) — he says, "God is incredibly deeply committed to [pause] You [pause] and [pause] I." And, in expounding upon the Words of Institution on Communion Sunday, like this morning f'rexample, he commits that same pronominal sacrilege several times in quick succession. Almost enough to make me turn Episcopalian.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 05:56 AM

Liland, I am with you there, it is quite common to hear the phrase "between you and I" uttered by people who should know better. And I wouldn't classify such concern as pedantry.

True pedantry raises its gnarled head when the question of split infinitives arises. I have long held that there are occasions when it is desirable, nay compulsory, to split an infinitive for the sake of proper emphasis, despite what the rules of grammar might say.

Murray


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: GUEST,Steve Parkes
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 06:38 AM

I saw this in the papers on Saturday. Good for Mr Richars, say I. But columnist and writer Keith Waterhouse got there about thirty years earlier with his Association for the Annihilation of the Aberrant Apostrophe. O tempora! O more's!, as they say.

Steve


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Gervase
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM

Waterhouse also wrote one of the best newspaper style guides ever - originally for the Daily Mirror, but later published for general use.
Like Strunk and White in the US, it should be by the side of anyone who writes - it's pithy, funny and bang-on when it comes to what you should and shouldn't do with words.
And, while we're on the subject of pedantry (not the cunjunction beginning the sentence!), there are a few solecisms that always get me harrumphing. One is the word "None" followed by a plural verb - as in "None of them are worth a fart". None is a contraction of "not one" and should always be followed by a singular verb - "None of them isworth a fart"
Then there's the word enormity. It has nothing whatsoever to do with size, and means "monstrous wickedness". So, when I see a vicar talking about the enormity of the fund-raising task ahead, I shakes me head...
Then there's.... ...sorry, I'm boring you. I'll get me coat...


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Gervase
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 07:37 AM

"cunjunction"? What the f***'s that when it's at home?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: GUEST,Kit Kat
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 07:57 AM

I too am reduced to seething and growling when I see misused apostrophes. I'm also irritated by the misuse of the word 'decimate'. If you mean 'reduce by one tenth', fine. Otherwise use 'annihilate' or 'destroy'. I am, however, a fully paid-up, practising pedant and proud of it!

Kit Kat


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Trevor
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 10:59 AM

And anyway, why does pirates always talks in the present tense? Have they never heard of the past pluperfect?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Grab
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 11:30 AM

Helen, the cure is that parents read to their children, and then encourage children to read for themselves. You can let the child learn written English naturally as their mother tongue, or you can teach it to them as a foreign language later on. And anyone who was forced to learn a foreign language at school knows how effective that is. In other words, it's exclusively the fault of parents, not of teachers. But saying "your parents were lazy" probably won't go down too well with your teachees, even though it may be true.

Quick apostrophe guide: use it ONLY when something belongs to someone else, or when a letter is missed out ("John's book isn't here."), otherwise don't use it. And how to encourage them to use it? Maybe a limit of 3 grammatical errors per page, after which you dock marks. That should encourage them to proof-read their work!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 02:31 PM

What about incorrect use of the reflexive pronoun while we're at it? "He and myself were.." Grrrr!


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Willa
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 06:07 PM

Pedantry is a perilous pastime; pitfalls proliferate as its practicioners ponder their preference for past, present, perfect or pluperfect.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 07:41 PM

In Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' there are two apostrophes in sha'n't - what did they do with won't, when it's "will not" rather than "would not"?

And do you put the question mark inside or outside the quotes?

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 08:14 PM

Rats! put a </a> instead of a </i> after sha'n't.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Haruo
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 10:12 PM

I put the question mark inside the quotes if the question is inside the quotes and outside if outside; you done it proper.

Liland


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Amos
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 10:50 PM

And is there, or is there not, a hyphen in "anal retentive"?

A


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Haruo
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 11:19 PM

Yes if it is an adjective, no if it's a nominal phrase (i.e. — as opposed to e.g. — if "retentive" — ‘retentive’ to the Brits — here functions as a noun). And of course the adjectival phrase "anally retentive" should, as a rule, not be hyphenated (though, as "as a rule" implies, there are exceptions).

Liland


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Grab
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 09:03 AM

Willa, and then the perpetrators precipitate perpendicularly down their posterior...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Orac
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 09:34 AM

I while back I took a pic of a menu board outside a cafe that had 17 apostrophes on it. Wonderful things like "Jacket Potatoe's variou's filling's" ... great stuff!! ... note the apostrophe even in various!!! .. And the number of times I've seen "Mushy pea's" or "chip's". Everything these days that ends in an "s" has an apostrophe before it. I look for it daily everywhere I go. Much better than train spotting. Did anyone these days ever go the school?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Amos
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 09:41 AM

I daresay they did, under the law -- but perhaps they had other things on their minds at the time such as:

Hormone's
Date's
Rock and roll band's
Boyfriend's
Girlfriend's
Part's of boyfriend's
Part's of girlfriend's

You know -- this is painful!

A


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 01:37 PM

rules for writing good English. Especially noteworthy are #15, "be more or less specific whenever possible", and #16, "understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earthshaking ideas."

Of special interest to pedants:

#2, "Prepositions are not words to end sentences with" and #21, "even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed."


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 03:02 PM

Grab, you have inadvertently (I assume) committed the sin of mixing the plural with the singular, which is a pet peeve of mine. You wrote "You can let the child learn written English naturally as their mother tongue, or you can teach it to them as a foreign language later on." As I am sure you realize, "child" is singular, while "their" and "them" are plural. The correct pronouns would be "his" and "him," even though I realize that people avoid using these because of the implied gender. Still, on a thread devoted to the joys of pedantry, I would be remiss if I did not point this out. Regards, WS


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: GUEST,Celtic Soul
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 03:07 PM

I cannot afford to be a pedant. My language skills are decent, but not up to the level necessary for pedantatiousness (I *am*, however, a creative vocabularist!!)

My pet peeves are words that do not, or better put, should not exist that are used in seriousness. Like the fact that "Normalcy" is now considered a valid word because some illiterate President (FDR, I think?) did not know the correct word was "Normality".

How about "Irregardless"? That sounds like a double negative to me. However, as it is so widely used (instead of the proper "regardless"), it too is in the dictionary. At least, it is on this side of the pond. Hopefully you Brits have more respect for the language than to add glaring errors into the dictionary.

But again, who am I to cast stones? I am one of the ones that doesn't get the apostrophe thing! ;D


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 03:10 PM

And what's with flammable, inflammable and non-inflammable... it's either one or the other!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 03:15 PM

Horrendous! Whistle Stop, could that be "I would be remiss were I not to point this out"? That may put me in the other f-word territory. If so, I apologise.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Willa
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 04:31 PM

Wyrd sister. I think that you are correct. Immediately one becomes pedantic, one becomes a target for other pedants. I'm ablatively posolute that someone will criticise my choice of words. Long live 'English' in all its infinite variety.


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 05:11 PM

Apostrophes in all directions
what's the stance on 'single' and "double" quotes?
er..... make that quotation marks
(I did say in all directions)

.....pedants to dream aye there's the rub........


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 09:06 PM

If any of you "pedants" are interested, the other thread of pedantry went to a part two-- yer welcome to join in at BS: Improper Letter S Endings, Etc., II

~Susan


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 09:51 PM

Hey there brother, who you jivin' with that Kozmic Debris?


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 12:55 AM

Whistle Stop- Some people are so worried about gender nowadays that they call for language reform. Why not replace all him-her-he-she with its? Then we can correctly address the chair as chair. Quotation marks: I dare anyone to find a first edition novel in which all of the quotation marks are correctly placed (if you take me up on this, you are a few eggs short of a dozen).


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Subject: RE: For pedants only
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 10 Oct 01 - 07:51 AM

Wyrd, I am duly chastened. And Willa is correct; I asked for it.

Dicho, I am all in favor of language reform, and I agree that we need to find a substitute for gender-based personal pronouns when referring to a person of unspecified gender. I would be happy with "it" as a substitute for "he" or "him". However, until such usage gains widewpread acceptance, I will continue to resist mixing the singular with the plural in the interest of gender neutrality.

Now I will exit this thread before someone finds another chink in my armor.


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