Attitudes to usage: second poll

This poll asks for your attitudes to the acceptability of the next five items in Attitudes to English Usage, by W.H. Mittins, Mary Salu, Mary Edmonson, and Sheila Coyne (OUP, 1970).

If you haven’t done the first poll yet, please do so now. You will find it by typing the word poll into the Search box of the blog.

Thank you!

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1 Response to Attitudes to usage: second poll

  1. Kate Wild says:

    Voting on this and the previous poll got me thinking about the different kinds of results that different kinds of surveys might elicit, depending on the transparency of the usage issues. For example, when I thought about the sentence ‘The members of the team laughed at EACH OTHER’, with the target ‘problem’ in caps, I paused to consider whether this would be inappropriate in formal usage, but I suspect that if I actually came across this sentence in a formal text I wouldn’t notice anything amiss. I wonder if another method could complement and check this type of survey – for example, voters could be asked to read texts (of varying levels of formality) with target items hidden in them, and asked to highlight problems/errors/infelicities. This may have already been done, or be in progress, but just a thought.

    Another thing I wondered about is that sometimes I hesitated over usage because the sentence itself would just seem out of place in a particular register – for example, you probably wouldn’t find ‘We have got to finish the job’ in formal writing, whereas you might find another use of ‘have got to’ (e.g. “This powerful technology has got to be applied with caution if it is going to be implemented successfully on a world scale”, from the corpus of British Academic Written English – not many like this, though).

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