Tag: Standard English

April 27, 2015

Language, Logic, and Correctness

In “Why Descriptivists Are Usage Liberals”, I said that there some logical problems with declaring something to be right or wrong based on evidence. A while back I explored this problem in a piece titled “What Makes It Right?” over on Visual Thesaurus. The terms prescriptive and descriptive were borrowed from philosophy, where they are […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 4 Replies to “Language, Logic, and Correctness”
March 4, 2015

Why Descriptivists Are Usage Liberals

Outside of linguistics, the people who care most about language tend to be prescriptivists—editors, writers, English teachers, and so on—while linguists and lexicographers are descriptivists. “Descriptive, not prescriptive!” is practically the linguist rallying cry. But we linguists have done a terrible job of explaining just what that means and why it matters. As I tried […]

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Descriptivism, Prescriptivism 11 Replies to “Why Descriptivists Are Usage Liberals”
December 12, 2013

Yes, Irregardless Is a Word

My last post, “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes about Grammar Mistakes Makes”, drew a lot of comments, some supportive and some critical. But no point drew as much ire as my claim that irregardless is a word. Some stated flatly, “Irregardless is not a word.” One ignorantly demanded, “Show me a dictionary that actually […]

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Sociolinguistics, Usage, Words 28 Replies to “Yes, Irregardless Is a Word”
November 18, 2013

12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes

There are a lot of bad grammar posts in the world. These days, anyone with a blog and a bunch of pet peeves can crank out a click-bait listicle of supposed grammar errors. There’s just one problem—these articles are often full of mistakes of one sort or another themselves. Once you’ve read a few, you […]

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Grammar, Prescriptivism, Usage 164 Replies to “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes”
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”
March 10, 2009

Reflections on National Grammar Day

I know I’m a week late to the party, but I’ve been thinking a lot about National Grammar Day and want to blog about it anyway. Please forgive me for my untimeliness. First off, I should say for those who don’t know me that I work as a copy editor. I clearly understand the value […]

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Prescriptivism, Rants 2 Replies to “Reflections on National Grammar Day”
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