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Old 12th December 2019, 02:40 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
You did it too.
I don't think I did.

'Anyone'/'anybody' [implying 'of one or several or many'] = correct usage of 'them'.
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Old 12th December 2019, 02:48 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Gosh no, that just sounds ridiculous.
Do people really speak that way where you live?
Around here everyone does it the smartcooky way and have been since I learnt to talk.
If it was an email it would be in that type of business speak.

Speechwise one would probably just say 'someone's left a wallet on the counter,' and probably would say, 'if he rings up blah blah' or 'she' depending on the ID inside..
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Old 12th December 2019, 03:03 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Speechwise one would probably just say 'someone's left a wallet on the counter,' and probably would say, 'if he rings up blah blah' or 'she' depending on the ID inside..
Keys then, you get the idea. You have no idea who it belongs to, wouldn't you say 'if they ring'?
Probably sounds natural to me because linguistically, as in most fields, we here in South Africa are way ahead of the rest of the world.
In Afrikaans I would say:
'Iemand het hulle sleutels hier gelos, as hulle bel...'
word for word:
'Someone have their keys here left, if they phone...'
and in English:
'Someone left their keys, if they phone...'
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Old 12th December 2019, 03:07 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Not if one wanted to be grammatically correct. "The penalty... may result.."??

I think you meant something like:
"Please wipe your feet. Failing to do so may result in a reprimand from the proprietor."

or:
"Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may be a reprimand from the proprietor."
It can indeed be correct if a reprimand is the ultimate penalty. For example, a loan company might say 'failure to keep up your payments may result in repossession of your home.' (Meaning, this is the worst case scenario.)
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Old 12th December 2019, 03:43 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Keys then, you get the idea. You have no idea who it belongs to, wouldn't you say 'if they ring'?
Probably sounds natural to me because linguistically, as in most fields, we here in South Africa are way ahead of the rest of the world.
In Afrikaans I would say:
'Iemand het hulle sleutels hier gelos, as hulle bel...'
word for word:
'Someone have their keys here left, if they phone...'
and in English:
'Someone left their keys, if they phone...'
Nothing wrong with it verbally. I wouldn't worry about it.

Coming from a quasi-legal background I'm probably more tuned to being precise in language than average. As an example, entities have to be referred to in the singular in court documents or the papers are likely to be returned.
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Last edited by Vixen; 12th December 2019 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 12th December 2019, 03:47 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Kerouac got that scholarship through playing football, not anything to do with English. He also dropped out in his second year after he broke his leg and quit the sport because his coach never took him off the bench.

Not that that means anything, of course. I just thought it was odd you were trying to portray Kerouac as some kind of formal English scholar when he really wasn't (AFAIK). As is true with most arts, writers stand out the most when they do something different and interesting to create a certain effect. And often that's the result of the artist not knowing or caring about standard conventions (your previous mention of the Sex Pistols being a good example for music). I certainly know that from personal experience; in my academic endeavors, I was usually regarded as a very good writer, and most positive comments I received in regards to my writing had to do with my use of somewhat non-standard syntax and how engaging it can be - something that's probably the result of frequently having to communicate with ESL speakers as a child. Again, not that any of this is important, or even relevant to the topic of this thread. As other have demonstrated, this "novel" definition of the "they" actually has a long history, and is already pretty standard.
My bad. He did meet up with two writers at Columbia though, who inspired him, and wrote prolifically for the college newsletter about his football matches.
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Old 12th December 2019, 05:18 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It can indeed be correct if a reprimand is the ultimate penalty. For example, a loan company might say 'failure to keep up your payments may result in repossession of your home.' (Meaning, this is the worst case scenario.)


No. The phrase you'd previously written (which was incorrect, and which was pointed out as such) was the equivalent of writing "the penalty for not keeping up your repayments may result in repossession of your home". And that is bang wrong. The penalty is the effect, not the cause.

Another rich irony in a thread about word usage - and the fact that the objective of language is to communicate an idea/instruction/emotion to the intended audience in a way they ought to be able to understand. The construction "The penalty (for doing ABC) may result in (XYZ)" is wrong whichever way you try to slice it. It's logically incorrect. It's a big ol' fail.
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Old 12th December 2019, 05:24 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Nothing wrong with it verbally. I wouldn't worry about it.

Coming from a quasi-legal background I'm probably more tuned to being precise in language than average. As an example, entities have to be referred to in the singular in court documents or the papers are likely to be returned.


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Old 12th December 2019, 05:47 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Coming from a quasi-legal background I'm probably more tuned to being precise in language than average.
So what's your excuse, then?
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Old 12th December 2019, 05:50 AM   #90
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I'm not against this as a singular pronoun for indefinite/unspecified gender. It's better, in my opinion, than "he/she" or the bizarre "ze".
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:04 AM   #91
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Until now I hadn't realized there was a writing style guide by Dunning-Kruger.
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:37 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It can indeed be correct if a reprimand is the ultimate penalty. For example, a loan company might say 'failure to keep up your payments may result in repossession of your home.' (Meaning, this is the worst case scenario.)
Go back and read what you originally wrote again.
Quote:
The penalty for failing to do so may result in a reprimand from the proprietor.
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:47 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Please do not put words in my mouth or take them out of context.
My apologies. The point is that the singular they is attested in written English going back at least two hundred years. Do you deny this?
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:57 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It can indeed be correct if a reprimand is the ultimate penalty. For example, a loan company might say 'failure to keep up your payments may result in repossession of your home.' (Meaning, this is the worst case scenario.)
Nope still incorrect. What you wrote was this:

'Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may result in a reprimand from the proprietor.'

What you should have written was:

'Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may be a reprimand from the proprietor.'

ETA: Ninja'd by everybody.

Last edited by Matthew Best; 12th December 2019 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Ninja
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:59 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Until now I hadn't realized there was a writing style guide by Dunning-Kruger.
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Old 12th December 2019, 07:00 AM   #96
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I'd just write "please wipe your feet". The notion of a "proprietor" threatening me with a possible "reprimand" is so risible as to be an active temptation to violate the request merely to see what form the fulfillment of this ridiculous threat would take. I'm a grown-ass man, I ain't afraid of no reprimands.
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Old 12th December 2019, 07:39 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Nothing wrong with it verbally. I wouldn't worry about it.

Coming from a quasi-legal background I'm probably more tuned to being precise in language than average. As an example, entities have to be referred to in the singular in court documents or the papers are likely to be returned.
As someone who actually drafts and edits legal documents on a daily basis I find your stated positions on the English language fascinatingly wrongheaded. Maybe the "quasi" makes all the difference.
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Old 12th December 2019, 07:45 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I didn't say they were. However, when you point to a usage in a published novel you need to be aware that they often have 'house rules' and won't let their authors have free licence over syntax, spelling and grammar, unless they are some kind of Booker Prize wannabes. That's all. Furthermore, I never claimed people do not use 'they'. I expressed the opinion I didn't it was good grammar to use it except for a conscious reason. It doesn't mean I am knocking the likes of Jane Austin.
And you need to admit that either Austen used they as she intended or was forced to do so by a publishing house. Either way, it was in common usage at the time by either a prominent author or her publishing house quite some time ago and is not a recent dumbing down of the language.

Quote:
Few adults actually read literary fiction so that is not where most people take their reference point from.
Fascinating claim that English literary works do not reflect the English language. I suppose there will be further explanation on this without actual references or support. I do look forward to it. I need more salad in my diet.
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Old 12th December 2019, 07:52 AM   #99
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They is the result of Satanism.
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Old 12th December 2019, 08:26 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
They is the result of Satanism.
Well, if you were speaking of a legion, you'd use "they." QED!
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Old 12th December 2019, 08:41 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
.....

Few adults actually read literary fiction so that is not where most people take their reference point from.


You might want to check your stats on that.

Not counting the millions of people that have read the classics, today's lit-fic writers like Salman Rushdie, Harper Lee and Toni Morrison have sold millions of books and that's just to name 3.
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Old 12th December 2019, 08:48 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
I don't think I did.

'Anyone'/'anybody' [implying 'of one or several or many'] = correct usage of 'them'.
So anyone are welcome to it?

Plural and singular verb forms have many idiosyncrasies.
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Old 12th December 2019, 08:51 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Until now I hadn't realized there was a writing style guide by Dunning-Kruger.
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:12 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
So anyone are welcome to it?

Plural and singular verb forms have many idiosyncrasies.
I'm pretty sure "anyone" is singular, the way these things are usually reckoned.
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:15 AM   #105
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Ah, yes, that famous companion of college freshmen, the slim paperback edition of The "Element's" of "Style" by Dunning and Kruger.
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:24 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm pretty sure "anyone" is singular, the way these things are usually reckoned.
D'uh.

So why did you quote me instead of who I was replying to?
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:25 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Until now I hadn't realized there was a writing style guide by Dunning-Kruger.
I hadn't, either, but it makes sense that such a guide would be favored by the kinds of people demonstrating the type of ridiculous elitism expressed by certain individuals in this thread.
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:26 AM   #108
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They used to write it as "any one", which makes it clearer that it's singular.
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Old 12th December 2019, 12:05 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Don't call me 'Boomer'.

Be that as it may, language has dumbed down to meet the demands of the lowest common denominator. A few months ago, I picked up Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - a children's novel - and I was shocked to realise the average 12-year-old today and even an adult, would struggle with the high standard of language.

Everything today is dumbed down to the level of a ten-year old. Look at Dan Brown giving us a quick summary of the previous chapter and informing as that Leonardo da Vinci is a world famous artist and that the Mona Lisa is a world renowned painting in novels aimed at adults. Thank goodness for the likes of Ian McEwan.
You sure about that? I thought it was YA, like Moll Flanders.
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Old 12th December 2019, 12:08 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
I hadn't, either, but it makes sense that such a guide would be favored by the kinds of people demonstrating the type of ridiculous elitism expressed by certain individuals in this thread.
That's easy for you to say. You have the prefix "arch" in your actual username!
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Old 12th December 2019, 02:33 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
Nope still incorrect. What you wrote was this:

'Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may result in a reprimand from the proprietor.'

What you should have written was:

'Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may be a reprimand from the proprietor.'

ETA: Ninja'd by everybody.
And if I read that note, I'd be all like, "Whoa dude! That proprietor sounds like a total dickwad an' ****** Don't harsh my mellow, dude!"

Ok, I see that I was slightly ninja'd by TragicMonkey.

Last edited by Elagabalus; 12th December 2019 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 12th December 2019, 06:23 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
'Please wipe your feet. The penalty for failing to do so may result in a reprimand from the proprietor.'
Does not parse.

The penalty may result in a reprimand?

ETA: I see this has been addressed and I'm being kind of a dick.

Last edited by Minoosh; 12th December 2019 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:18 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Can you please stop trolling me.
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:25 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post


You might want to check your stats on that.

Not counting the millions of people that have read the classics, today's lit-fic writers like Salman Rushdie, Harper Lee and Toni Morrison have sold millions of books and that's just to name 3.
Sorry to burst your bubble but statistics show few people read literary fiction after leaving school.
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:36 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Sorry to burst your bubble but statistics show few people read literary fiction after leaving school.
So where's your evidence?
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:39 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
So where's your evidence?
It is common knowledge.
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Old 13th December 2019, 02:24 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It is common knowledge.
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Old 13th December 2019, 03:35 AM   #118
Belz...
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Can you please stop trolling me.
Ah, there's another word you don't know the meaning of.

Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
It is common knowledge.
Translation: "it's my opinion."
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Old 13th December 2019, 04:24 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post


Can you please stop trolling Vixen.


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Old 13th December 2019, 06:07 AM   #120
Vixen
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ah, there's another word you don't know the meaning of.



Translation: "it's my opinion."
It is a statistic that was in the newspapers some time ago.
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