Grammar Nazi on the Rampage!

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Marc Savlov

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Jan 19, 1995, 8:25:03 AM1/19/95
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Charles Burns (cbu...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu) wrote:
: Hey Petro, I'm sorry I've got to do this, but you post so often that
: you're attribution line comes up too frequently for me to stand any longer.

: Petro writes:

: One day, so and so did speak thusly:
: ^^^^^^

: There is no such word as "thusly".
: Look it up in the dictionary. It's not there. "Thus" is already an
: adverb, thus (!), it needs no "ly" added to its backside to be turned
: into one. That would be redundant. Like saying, "He flames searinglyly."
: The correct usage would be, "So and so did speak thus:" or "Thus, so and
: so spoke:" or even "Thus spake Zarathustra", but never "thusly".

Hey! You forgot to indent, you swine!

(Style Police Nail Your Buttocks, Once Again! Haa-Haa *evil laugh*)


: I'm sorry for this, but I was corrected rudelyly by a Latin teacher of
: mine oncely...

: CJBVII
: --
: _____________________________________________________________________________
: Charles J. Burns VII * cbu...@sas.upenn.edu * Gothic/Industrial Archaeologist
: Sometimes, I feel like I'm digging my own grave...
: "Reviled did I live," said I, "As evil I did deliver!"

Ronald Carrier

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Jan 19, 1995, 8:31:56 AM1/19/95
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Charles Burns <cbu...@mail1.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:
>Hey Petro, I'm sorry I've got to do this, but you post so often that
>you're attribution line comes up too frequently for me to stand any longer.
>
>Petro writes:
>
>One day, so and so did speak thusly:
> ^^^^^^
>
>There is no such word as "thusly".
>Look it up in the dictionary. It's not there. "Thus" is already an
>adverb, thus (!), it needs no "ly" added to its backside to be turned
>into one. That would be redundant. Like saying, "He flames searinglyly."
>The correct usage would be, "So and so did speak thus:" or "Thus, so and
>so spoke:" or even "Thus spake Zarathustra", but never "thusly".

You're looking in the wrong dictionary. Try the first edition of the OED,
where it is described as a colloquial adverb equivalent in sense to "thus."

alt.gothic.philology

Later...

--
| Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
Ronald M. Carrier | Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
rcar...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu | Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give;
Philosophy, Northwestern U | Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
| --Dorothy Parker, "Re'sume'"

Charles Burns

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Jan 19, 1995, 11:39:12 PM1/19/95
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In article <3flpkc$1...@news.acns.nwu.edu>,
Ronald Carrier <rcar...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> wrote:
[Stuff about "thusly" not being in the dictionary deleted]

>You're looking in the wrong dictionary. Try the first edition of the OED,
>where it is described as a colloquial adverb equivalent in sense to "thus."


Technically, since you've got the OED on you're side, you're correct, but
the OED often lists colloquialism which are corruptions of correct usage
in order to offer a _complete_ listing of _all_ the words ever used in
spoken or written English. Case in point: "ain't" is in the OED, yet I
don't think you would agree that it is "correct" gramtically. "Thusly"
has fallen into spoken usage mainly because people were unfamiliar with
the rules of adverbial morphology. What is happening to our language?
A friend of mine was told recently (by an English professor, no less!)
that it is now considered "OK" stylistically to end a sentence with a
preposition. The rationalle? "The Germans do it, and English is
"Germanic" so it should be OK." What this "English" prof. failed to
realise is that the Germans do not end their sentences with prepositions
that have objects, but with the adverbial seperable prefixes of verbs.
>
>alt.gothic.philology >

alt.gothic.philology.splitting.hairs.as.usual

CJBVII.

Ronald Carrier

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Jan 20, 1995, 10:13:33 AM1/20/95
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Charles Burns <cbu...@mail2.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:
>Ronald Carrier <rcar...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> wrote:
> [Stuff about "thusly" not being in the dictionary deleted]
>>You're looking in the wrong dictionary. Try the first edition of the OED,
>>where it is described as a colloquial adverb equivalent in sense to "thus."
>
>Technically, since you've got the OED on you're side, you're correct, but
>the OED often lists colloquialism which are corruptions of correct usage
>in order to offer a _complete_ listing of _all_ the words ever used in
>spoken or written English. Case in point: "ain't" is in the OED, yet I
>don't think you would agree that it is "correct" gramtically.

True enough. And it is my view that this is what a dictionary should do, list
the ways in which a word has in fact been used and stop at that. It doesn't
strike as being quite right that dictionaries should have a primarily
evaluative function. Case in point is the term "colloquialism," which is as
much an indication of class differences (using "class" fairly broadly here) as
of grammaticality. And you are right to put "correct" in scare quotes in your
last sentence, since language that is not "ideally" grammatical is not for
that reason totally random. It exhibits fairly stable regularities that can
be categorized in a grammar -- a _de_facto_ grammar, if you must, but a
grammar nonetheless (as in studies of Black English [or is that
African-American English?] or what Mencken does in _The_American_Language_).

> "Thusly"
>has fallen into spoken usage mainly because people were unfamiliar with
>the rules of adverbial morphology.

Now this is a weird thing to say, at least after the Chomskyan turn. If there
is a universal grammar (unlikely, in my view), how is it that some of us have
to be reminded of it? But if we take what you wrote literally, then one may
very well ask, Why does it matter that we follow this rule? It strikes me
that this is going to be a pragmatic matter. Indeed, grammar may be far more
dependent on pragmatics than people suspect.

> What is happening to our language?

What has always happened to it -- it's slowly shifting across time in response
to all sorts of pressures. Does this mean that people are getting more and
more ungrammatical? I doubt it, but on the other hand I am not sure how
useful it is to think of language as something that is primarily "in one's
head." Perhaps language is something that is pre-subjective in its nature.

MATOC...@news.delphi.com

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Jan 23, 1995, 7:14:32 PM1/23/95
to
The problem with trying to support "correct usage" is that it is,
basically, and artificail concept. (Yes, I know, I'm arguing against
elitism on alt.goth. Nevermind the inherent contradiction) "Correct
usage" is something that the educated upper class invents to further
separate itself from the presumably and usually uneduacted underclass.

Therefor, people with nothing better to do think up a lot of complicated
rules that take a lifetime to learn to use, and bitch about people who
don't have the time or inclination. The only real basis for what is
correct in a language is what people use on a daily basis. Otherwise,
we'd be *real* grammar Nazi's, like the French. And considering that,
linguistically, speaking, English is the bastard offspring of a
syphilitic donkey and Dolly Parton, we haven't a leg to stand on.

And, not that the sermon is over, it still bugs me when people use imapct
as a verb.

(And please ignore the typos, I compose online of Delphi's quote editor
unquote)

Matociquala

exile

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Jan 24, 1995, 5:42:07 PM1/24/95
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que...@eskimo.com (Charles Bell) hath written,
> I think it is commendable to maintain standards of language, even to the
> point of correcting -- politely but firmly -- those who violate good
> rules of grammar, syntax or spelling.
>
> But which rules, precisely, are 'good rules'? Ah, there's the rub....
> (In case you didn't notice, I just violated a 'rule' that says the
> question mark should be inside the quotes; I did so deliberately because
> it obviously relates to the whole sentence, not to the matter within the
> quotes. Any contrary 'rule' should be repealed, and I'm doing my part!)

More to the point... What are gothic rules?

{exile} Who apologizes for interrupting you.

Lilith

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Jan 24, 1995, 2:27:32 PM1/24/95
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MATOC...@DELPHI.COM (MATOC...@news.delphi.com) wrote:

: Therefor, people with nothing better to do think up a lot of complicated

: rules that take a lifetime to learn to use, and bitch about people who
: don't have the time or inclination. The only real basis for what is
: correct in a language is what people use on a daily basis. Otherwise,
: we'd be *real* grammar Nazi's, like the French. And considering that,

: And, not that the sermon is over, it still bugs me when people use imapct
: as a verb.

I assume you mean "impact"
May I quote: "impact v. "to drive close or hard" - Perry's Royal
Standard English dictionary, being the First work of the kind printed in
America, 1788.
"impact v. "to pack firmly together" - the Official
Scrabble Player's Dictionary, 1978

It's been a verb for over 200 years!
(I love my 18th century dictionary!)

Other than that- there's a difference between letting a language change
as times and usage change- and allowing every ignorant mistake and slang
word of the month into the official language.

lil...@dorsai.org

+*+*+*+*"With a gun for a lover and a shot for the pain at hand..."*+*+*+

Martyn Amos

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Jan 31, 1995, 12:20:31 PM1/31/95
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In article <literati-200...@moc5.cstores.uiuc.edu> lite...@prairienet.org (Literati) writes:
>Chales Burns brought out the red pen:

>
>> A friend of mine was told recently (by an English professor, no less!)
>> that it is now considered "OK" stylistically to end a sentence with a
>> preposition. The rationalle? "The Germans do it, and English is
>> "Germanic" so it should be OK." What this "English" prof. failed to
>> realise is that the Germans do not end their sentences with prepositions
>> that have objects, but with the adverbial seperable prefixes of verbs.
>
>A story I once heard about Winston Churchill:
>
> Churchill was told that he should never end a sentence with a preposition.
> "Well," he replied. "That is certainly someting I will not up with put."

Erm...it was actually "That is the sort of English up with which I will not
put".

Cheers,

Mart
--
Martyn Amos = mar...@dcs.warwick.ac.uk = Parallel Computation Group,
=-=-=-=-=-= = mar...@alife.santafe.edu = Department of Computer Science,
-=-=-=-=-=- = (Santa Fe Institute) = University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
------------ http://www.dcs.warwick.ac.uk/~martyn/ ------------

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