Tag: Bryan Garner

July 5, 2018

I Request You to Read This Post

Several weeks ago, I tweeted about a weird construction that I see frequently at work thanks to our project management system. Whenever someone assigns me to a project, I get an email like the one below: I said that the construction sounded ungrammatical to me—you can ask someone to do something or request that they do it, […]

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Grammar, Varieties of English 6 Replies to “I Request You to Read This Post”
March 8, 2018

Skunked Terms and Scorched Earth

A recent Twitter exchange about the term beg the question got me thinking again about the notion of skunked terms. David Ehrlich said that at some point the new sense of beg the question was going to become the correct one, and I said that that point had already come and gone. If you’re not […]

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Usage 8 Replies to “Skunked Terms and Scorched Earth”
October 6, 2014

New Post on Visual Thesaurus: Less Usage Problems

I have a new post on Visual Thesaurus, and this one’s open to non-subscribers: The distinction between less and fewer is one of the most popular rules in the peevers’ arsenal. It’s a staple of lists of grammar rules that everyone supposedly gets wrong, and sticklers have pressured stores into changing their signs from “10 […]

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Usage, Words 0 Replies to “New Post on Visual Thesaurus: Less Usage Problems”
June 10, 2014

Do Usage Debates Make You Nauseous?

Several days ago, the Twitter account for the Chicago Manual of Style tweeted, “If you’re feeling sick, use nauseated rather than nauseous. Despite common usage, whatever is nauseous induces nausea.” The relevant entry in Chicago reads, Whatever is nauseous induces a feeling of nausea—it makes us feel sick to our stomachs. To feel sick is […]

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Usage, Words 18 Replies to “Do Usage Debates Make You Nauseous?”
May 16, 2013

My Thesis

I’ve been putting this post off for a while for a couple of reasons: first, I was a little burned out and was enjoying not thinking about my thesis for a while, and second, I wasn’t sure how to tackle this post. My thesis is about eighty pages long all told, and I wasn’t sure […]

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Descriptivism, Editing, Prescriptivism, Usage 16 Replies to “My Thesis”
December 24, 2012

Relative Pronoun Redux

A couple of weeks ago, Geoff Pullum wrote on Lingua Franca about the that/which rule, which he calls “a rule which will live in infamy”. (For my own previous posts on the subject, see here, here, and here.) He runs through the whole gamut of objections to the rule—that the rule is an invention, that […]

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Descriptivism, Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage 16 Replies to “Relative Pronoun Redux”
March 4, 2012

Rules, Evidence, and Grammar

In case you haven’t heard, it’s National Grammar Day, and that seemed as good a time as any to reflect a little on the role of evidence in discussing grammar rules. (Goofy at Bradshaw of the Future apparently had the same idea.) A couple of months ago, Geoffrey Pullum made the argument in this post […]

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Descriptivism, Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage 10 Replies to “Rules, Evidence, and Grammar”
January 11, 2012

More on That

As I said in my last post, I don’t think the distribution of that and which is adequately explained by the restrictive/nonrestrictive distinction. It’s true that nearly all thats are restrictive (with a few rare exceptions), but it’s not true that all restrictive relative pronouns are thats and that all whiches are nonrestrictive, even when […]

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Descriptivism, Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage, Words 13 Replies to “More on That
December 23, 2011

Which Hunting

I meant to blog about this several weeks ago, when the topic came up in my corpus linguistics class from Mark Davies, but I didn’t have time then. And I know the that/which distinction has been done to death, but I thought this was an interesting look at the issue that I hadn’t seen before. […]

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Editing, Usage, Words 3 Replies to “Which Hunting”
November 6, 2011

Till Kingdom Come

The other day on Twitter, Bryan A. Garner posted, “May I ask a favor? Would all who read this please use the prep. ‘till’ in a tweet? Not till then will we start getting people used to it.” I didn’t help out, partly because I hate pleas of the “Repost this if you agree!” variety […]

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Words 16 Replies to “Till Kingdom Come”
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