4th Usage Poll

Below, you will find usage poll number 4, with items 16 – 20 from the questionnaire in Mittins et al. (1970).

 
 
 
 

One Response to 4th Usage Poll

  1. Kate Wild says:

    I find it quite astonishing that ten respondents (at the time of my doing this poll) say that ‘less road accidents’ is not acceptable in any of the categories, and six say the same of ‘try and’ – so these would be wrong even in a chat with your friend, or in a text?

    Both of these forms have quite a long history, even in written English. The ‘try and’ construction, according to the OED, dates back to at least the 17th c.:

    1686 J. S. Hist. Monastical Convent. 9 They try and express their love to God by their thankfulness to him.

    ‘Less’ + plural noun goes all the way back to Old English; the first quote in the OED is:

    c888 ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxxv. §5 [6] Swa mid læs worda swa mid ma, swæðer we hit gereccan magon.

    I find it fascinating that we’re still resisting these forms centuries later, even though they look as if they’re here to stay.

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