GDG- Is we is or is we ain't a Union?

joadx1 at netscape.net joadx1 at netscape.net
Sun Jan 22 11:40:26 CST 2012


 And as a veteran university professor, I can say that the situation is hopeless.  Consider the question of noun-pronoun agreement.  Everyone in this country now simply uses the plural pronoun "they" for all purposes, as in "when someone goes to the store, they buy milk."  I grant that there is some wiggle room in grammatical convention, but sometimes you get ludicrous statements like "when Sally went to the store, they bought milk."  I know where this comes from: a desire to avoid gender-weighted pronouns (traditionally, the masculine personal pronoun was used for all indefinite singular purposes), but I ask my students to try to avoid glaring mismatches.  I also try to explain the difference between "it's" and "its," and "there," "they're," and "their," to little avail.  Now I see "where" being used when the writer means "were," even among professional journalists.  Such is the effect of a spell checker that cannot discern context.

When I get my first "+1" in an essay when the writer means "I agree," it may be time to retire.

Not really.  There are worse things in the world to contend with (or should I say, "with which to contend").

 

 



    >As a veteran newspaper editor, let me digitally applaud yourgrammatical abilities. One of the constants I have had to correct withreporters --- especially newly minted ones from the nation's grandestuniversities --- is that there exists this wonderful part of the Englishlanguage called the collective singular and, thus, it takes a singularverb.    Your use of "team" is a fine example, indeed. Other collectivesingulars like city council, the Congress and, of course, the United Statesof America, take singular verbs such as "is," "did" or "has" instead of"are," "does" or "have."  As I like to tell my youthful journalisticcharges, "We are all Americans but American is one nation."     And Mr. Foote was, indeed, most correct in his use of verbs.                 With regards,                       Chet< 


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