spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 03:19 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
The was form is possible in informal, familiar conversation.


Which might derive from the difference in French of "tu" and "vous".
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 04:17 pm
@JTT,
Quote:
You lack a sense of humor, Frank. That's quite normal for ramrod prescriptivists that have had the yardstick stuck in an uncomfortable location.


JTT...that was a poor effort. My sense of humor is just fine.

Why do you need to insult people so often?


Quote:
Here is an interesting discussion of those who have been cut from the same cloth as you.


Quote:
Death of the Queen's English Society

June 6, 2012 @ 3:47 am · Filed by Geoffrey K. Pullum under Prescriptivist poppycock, Silliness, Usage advice, Writing, coordination, passives


The Queen's English Society (QES), mentioned only a couple of times here on Language Log over the past few years, is no more. It has ceased to be. On the last day of this month they will ring down the curtain and it will join the choir invisible. It will be an ex-society. Said Rhea Williams, chairman of QES, in a letter to the membership of which I have seen a facsimile copy:
At yesterday's SGM there were 22 people present, including the 10 members of your committee. Three members had sent their apologies. Not a very good showing out of a membership of 560 plus!

Time was spent discussing what to do about QES given the forthcoming resignations of so many committee members. Despite the sending out of a request for nominations for chairman, vice-chairman, administrator, web master, and membership secretary no one came forward to fill any role. So I have to inform you that QES will no longer exist. There will be one more Quest then all activity will cease and the society will be wound up. The effective date will be 30th June 2012

(Quest is the society's magazine.) Is this a sad day for defenders of English? Not in my view. I don't think it was a serious enterprise at all. I don't think the members cared about what they said they cared about. And I will present linguistic evidence for this thesis.

First, let's look at the seven sentences of the letter above in the light of the usual kind of judgmental prescriptivism that the members of QES always purported to care about (and keep in mind here that in some cases I am applying what prescriptive authorities generally say, not endorsing it):

At yesterday's SGM there were 22 people present, including the 10 members of your committee. [The existential construction ("there is/are/was/were") is condemned by Strunk and White (page 18) as weak writing, to be avoided.]
Three members had sent their apologies. [Not clear why "had" is included to make a past perfect where a preterite would have been perfectly correct and appropriate. Omit needless words!]
Not a very good showing out of a membership of 560 plus! [This is a fragment: it has no main verb.]
Time was spent discussing what to do about QES given the forthcoming resignations of so many committee members. [This is an agentless passive, condemned by Strunk and by Orwell and by writing tutors and prescriptivists everywhere.]
Despite the sending out of a request for nominations for chairman, vice-chairman, administrator, web master, and membership secretary no one came forward to fill any role. [This is also evasive about agency: who sent out the request?]
So I have to inform you that QES will no longer exist. [This begins with a "conjunction".]
There will be one more Quest then all activity will cease and the society will be wound up. [Ungrammatical because of punctuation: a comma or semicolon is needed after "Quest". And as a magazine title, Quest should properly have been italicized. The last clause is another agency-avoiding passive.]
The effective date will be 30th June 2012 [Ungrammatical because of punctuation again: the final period has been carelessly omitted.]


Wow...you people are so brave. You actually will end a sentence without a period.

Good to see ya here, JTT. You are always welcome in a discussion I am having with anybody.
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 04:20 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
You're obviously pretty stupid if you was looking for any experts on here.


Maybe it was hopeful thinking on my part. The forum suggests that it is filled with experts willing to share knowledge.



Quote:
When did I claim to be an expert?


Beats me. When did I claim you claimed to be an expert?


Quote:
I'm just a song and dance man.


And probably a damned good one at that.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 04:29 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
Actually, after re-reading the sentence I think it would have sounded better to use the present tense 'is'


That wouldn't have made any difference, Aidan, because the situation you described is the present.

I wonder if your comment about using present tense 'is' has triggered anything in Frank's brain.

Quote:
and then we'd have avoided the question altogether,


There's no need for competent English language users like yourself to do rewrites or avoid perfectly natural, fully grammatical collocations to appease those who operate under the misguided assumption that they know English grammar.

Y'all spent dog knows how many years of schooling wherein you sat there in silence just to appease those teachers who operate/operated under the misguided assumption that they know English grammar.

Quote:
The were form is correct at all times.
The was form is possible in informal, familiar conversation.


Your sentence with 'was' has nothing to do with this, above.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 04:45 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Your second sentence is a fragment.



Quote:
Suppose this last page had been this, (2):

And it was still hot.

(with a period at the end of the immediately preceding text). Then we'd have a sentence with an initial coordinator. Such sentences are fiercely reviled in some circles, on the grounds that they are not complete sentences but only sentence fragments. But no reputable writer on usage shares this prejudice. Here's Mark Liberman on No Initial Coordinators:

There is nothing in the grammar of the English language to support a prescription against starting a sentence with and or but — nothing in the norms of speaking and nothing in the usage of the best writers over the entire history of the literary language.

Like all languages, English is full of mechanisms to promote coherence by linking a sentence with its discourse context, and on any sensible evaluation, this is a Good Thing.

Whoever invented the rule against sentence-intitial and and but, with its a preposterous justification in terms of an alleged defect in sentential "completeness", must have had a tin ear and a dull mind. Nevertheless, this stupid made-up rule has infected the culture so thoroughly that 60% of the AHD's (sensible and well-educated) usage panel accepts it to some degree.


http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1808
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:02 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Why do you need to insult people so often?


Don't think you don't Frank. Your insults are just snidier and popping out of left field and surprise, surprise, you always keep a pedantic back door open for you to slip out of when the need arises.

Has nobody ever told you that before old chap. That's what's comes of having dishonest or cowed acquaintances.

Quote:
Thanks, Spendius. But I was looking for an opinion from an expert.


That's an example of when you don't bother putting much effort into it. Like a putt of four feet when it's for a quadruple bogey.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:06 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
It does look like the subjunctive mood to me, David. Obviously, that is why I framed my question that way.
I shud have noticed that sooner; I read it too fast.
It was MORE obvious, with Rebecca 's examples.



Frank Apisa wrote:
I think "were" is prescribed for that sentence, but I am still waiting for JTT...uhhh, I mean an expert to give us the definitive answer. (Although since I agree with you take, I am accepting of it.)
Your patience with crazy people is very commendable; it exceeds mine. He repudiated logic.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:07 pm
@Frank Apisa,
You're obviously a complete, ******* idiot Frank. But that's not your fault of course. Thinking we are all idiots is a fault.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:12 pm
@spendius,
You tell me Frank how to improve communication better than "There's a few steamers in the beer tent Joe" bearing in mind what the speaker was trying to convey to his mate.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:14 pm
@spendius,
There's no fresh **** or clams in the beer tent. It's a posh agricultural show in the early evening on a warm summers day. Joe would never dream of asking if his mate meant fresh **** or clams.
Frank Apisa
 
  4  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:24 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
You're obviously a complete, ******* idiot Frank.


Sorry you think that, Spendius. Don't know why you think it. In any case, I think you are a fine person.

Quote:
But that's not your fault of course.


I don't even think that I am a complete, ******* idiot...so of course I do not think it is my fault.

Quote:
Thinking we are all idiots is a fault.


Are you under the impression that I think anyone here is an idiot? And if you are, why are you?
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:26 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
You tell me Frank how to improve communication better than "There's a few steamers in the beer tent Joe" bearing in mind what the speaker was trying to convey to his mate.


I think it is a fine way to communicate the idea. But we were talking about grammar...and particularly whether the word "few" used an "are" or an "is."

If you are wondering what I was thinking about that, why not answer the questions I asked you earlier?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 05:27 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
There's no fresh **** or clams in the beer tent. It's a posh agricultural show in the early evening on a warm summers day. Joe would never dream of asking if his mate meant fresh **** or clams.


Whatever!
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 06:08 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
It does look like the subjunctive mood to me, David. Obviously, that is why I framed my question that way.


I think that this is the first time that you've been honest enough to share your "knowledge" for the various prescriptions you've handed out in this thread and elsewhere, Frank.

Now that's progress.

All the other times, you just made excuses for yourself. Whatever possessed you to attempt honesty?

Quote:
I think "were" is prescribed for that sentence,


Every time you see an 'if' doesn't mean it's the subjunctive mood, Frank. Y'all sure were taught a lot of crap. You know, language and grammar truly are interesting. Much of this comes from the complexity that is found in language. After reading you and Om, it's plain to see that these things are lost on you.

Why not explain why you think this is the subjunctive mood.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 06:30 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
But we were talking about grammar...and particularly whether the word "few" used an "are" or an "is."


There have been precious few times when you have talked about grammar, Frank. Have you noticed that that's the way it is with prescriptivists. They mouth the rule and tell the abuser that they are bad and will surely suffer eternal damnation, but discussing the grammar is out of the question.

Quote:
and particularly whether the word "few" used an "are" or an "is."


'few' in Spendi's sentence is an adjective, Frank. Aren't you the least bit troubled that an adjective is using an article. OmSig would likely be apoplectic
about this abuse of logic.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:09 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
I honestly don't know what most North Americans say in such instances, but I don't think it would sound so weird to my ear if I had in fact grown up hearing people say 'Where's you keys,' so I'm just wondering how you checked.


Quote:
Whatever the reason, [for the move to "there's + plural subject"] in a study of spoken discourse, Celce-Murcia and Hudson [1981] confirmed that there's predominates in informal speech, even when a plural noun phrase follows the verb.


The Grammar Book An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course @ page 448

Quote:
Do you think it could be a regional thing?


I suppose it's possible that it occurs more in certain places, Aidan, but I'd say that it's widespread across NaE.

See,

WHEN "THERE'S" ISN'T "THERE IS"

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002447.html
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:47 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

Quote:
You're obviously a complete, ******* idiot Frank.


Sorry you think that, Spendius. Don't know why you think it. In any case, I think you are a fine person.

Quote:
But that's not your fault of course.


I don't even think that I am a complete, ******* idiot...so of course I do not think it is my fault.

Quote:
Thinking we are all idiots is a fault.


Are you under the impression that I think anyone here is an idiot? And if you are, why are you?
Is it better for ******* idiots to be COMPLETE or incomplete??

I imagine that the gene pool will be better off
if the idiots stop *******.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 14 Jul, 2012 11:52 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Quote:
I imagine that the gene pool will be better off
if the idiots stop *******.


That's certainly true in your case, Om.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jul, 2012 12:32 am
@Frank Apisa,
Are you under the impression that I think anyone here is an idiot? And if you are, why are you?

In your expert opinion Frank, is YOUR second sentence here a fragment?
I mean I feel like something of a petty little idiot for pointing it out - but I'm just curious as to whether you've changed your stance on that grammatical point of contention ( whether or not it's okay to begin a sentence with a conjunction).
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jul, 2012 12:38 am
@JTT,
Quote:
I suppose it's possible that it occurs more in certain places, Aidan, but I'd say that it's widespread across NaE.

See,

WHEN "THERE'S" ISN'T "THERE IS"

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002447.html


Thanks for that - I did read it. It sort of bears out another thought I had that it was more likely a function of age as opposed to region- that grammar is becoming less formal as the years go by and so younger people are using different grammatical constructs than their elders.
Even in the video I posted of the British boy doing all the different accents, I noticed he said, 'There's lots of different accents in my country - I'm from the UK if you didn't know...' and that's when it struck me - maybe it's a more recently adopted and accepted grammatical construct as opposed to a regional one.
 

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