Category: Descriptivism

October 19, 2011

Rules, Regularity, and Relative Pronouns

The other day I was thinking about relative pronouns and how they get so much attention from usage commentators, and I decided I should write a post about them. I was beaten to the punch by Stan Carey, but that’s okay, because I think I’m going to take it in a somewhat different direction. (And […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Usage, Words 9 Replies to “Rules, Regularity, and Relative Pronouns”
October 6, 2011

Continua, Planes, and False Dichotomies

On Twitter, Erin Brenner asked, “How about a post on prescriptivism/descriptivism as a continuum rather than two sides? Why does it have to be either/or?” It’s a great question, and I firmly believe that it’s not an either-or choice. However, I don’t actually agree that prescriptivism and descriptivism occupy different points on a continuum, so […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 25 Replies to “Continua, Planes, and False Dichotomies”
September 23, 2011

It’s Not Wrong, but You Still Shouldn’t Do It

A couple of weeks ago, in my post “The Value of Prescriptivism,” I mentioned some strange reasoning that I wanted to talk about later—the idea that there are many usages that are not technically wrong, but you should still avoid them because other people think they’re wrong. I used the example of a Grammar Girl […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Usage, Words 13 Replies to “It’s Not Wrong, but You Still Shouldn’t Do It”
August 30, 2011

Does Prescriptivism Have Moral Worth?

I probably shouldn’t be getting into this again, but I think David Bentley Hart’s latest post on language (a follow-up to the one I last wrote about) deserves a response. You see, even though he’s no longer cloaking his peeving with the it’s-just-a-joke-but-no-seriously defense, I think he’s still cloaking his arguments in something else: spurious […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Usage 9 Replies to “Does Prescriptivism Have Moral Worth?”
August 10, 2010

Gray, Grey, and Circular Prescriptions

A few days ago John McIntyre took a whack at the Associated Press Stylebook’s penchant for flat assertions, this time regarding the spelling of gray/grey. McIntyre noted that gray certainly is more common in American English but that grey is not a misspelling. In the comments I mused that perhaps gray is only more common […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism, Words 12 Replies to “Gray, Grey, and Circular Prescriptions”
March 24, 2010

Scriptivists Revisited

Before I begin: I know—it’s been a terribly, horribly, unforgivably long time since my last post. Part of it is that I’m often busy with grad school and work and family, and part of it is that I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about prescriptivism and descriptivism and linguists and editors and don’t really […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 7 Replies to “Scriptivists Revisited”
June 19, 2009

Linguists and Straw Men

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long (I know I say that a lot)—I’ve been busy with school and things. Anyway, a couple months back I got a comment on an old post of mine, and I wanted to address it. I know it’s a bit lame to respond to two-month-old comments, but it was […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 8 Replies to “Linguists and Straw Men”
March 19, 2008

Rules Are Rules

Recently I was involved in an online discussion about the pronunciation of the word the before vowels. Someone wanted to know if it was pronounced /ði/ (“thee”) before vowels only in singing, or if it was a general rule of speech as well. His dad had said it was a rule, but he had never […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Language education, Prescriptivism 0 Replies to “Rules Are Rules”
February 4, 2008

How I Became a Descriptivist

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always the grammar free-love hippie that I am now. I actually used to be known as quite a grammar nazi. This was back in my early days as an editor (during my first year or two of college) when I was learning lots of rules about grammar and usage […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Editing, Prescriptivism, Usage 7 Replies to “How I Became a Descriptivist”
April 6, 2007

Scriptivists

The dispute between prescriptivism and descriptivism has sometimes been described as “a war that never ends.” Indeed, it often seems that the two sides are locked in an eternal struggle at polar opposites of the debate, neither willing to yield an inch. The prescriptivists are striving to uphold time-honored standards and defend the language from […]

SHARE:
Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 4 Replies to “Scriptivists”
You are here: Page 2
%d bloggers like this: