Category Archives: usage features
If people think singular they is a new feature in the English language, arising out of the need to express gender neutrality: it isn’t. There was already an article about the pronoun in 1975, by Ann Bodine. Very well worth … Continue reading
I just proofread an article of mine which had been copy-edited, in the process of which all my whichs (and some whos) had been changed into thats! Copy-editors tend to be anonymous, but I bet this person was American. Another … Continue reading
This is a quotation from a new book, The Beast, by Alexander Starritt, due out on 7 September, and previewed in today’s Guardian by Ian Jack, about a fictionalised sub-editor on the Daily Mail. It might make entertaining reading!
In her book Horrible Words: A Guide to the Misuse of English (2016), Rebecca Gowers uses the word gripers in preference to sticklers (a word I myself always associate with Lynne Truss’s famous Eats Shoots and Leaves), and in her paper at our Life after HUGE? symposium … Continue reading
I was copy-editing a paper for a language journal today, and came across this: “… children may or may not identify phonemes better audiovisually than auditory only.” The prescriptivist in me baulked at the combination of adverb and adjective, and … Continue reading
Discourse marker like is finding its way into usage guides, as Viktorija Kostadinova shows in her work. None of the usage guides in the HUGE database, all published before 2010, has an entry on like. But some writers do discuss it, even … Continue reading