Survey Says Determining What Usage Is and Isnt

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Survey Says…: Determining What Usage Is and Isn’t Acceptable Anne Curzan University of Michigan

Survey Says…: Determining What Usage Is and Isn’t Acceptable Anne Curzan University of Michigan TESOL 2016 International Convention April 8, 2016

Richard Grant White, Words and Their Uses (1876): Matthew Brady, Library of Congress Prints

Richard Grant White, Words and Their Uses (1876): Matthew Brady, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Donate. – I need hardly say, that this word is utterly abominable—one that any lover of simple honest English cannot hear with patience and without offence. It has been formed by some presuming and ignorant person from donation… (205 -6)

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. en·thuse (ĕn·thōoz') v. tr. 1. To cause

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. en·thuse (ĕn·thōoz') v. tr. 1. To cause to become enthusiastic. 2. To say or utter with enthusiasm. v. intr. To show or express enthusiasm USAGE NOTE: The verb enthuse, a back-formation from enthusiasm, is viewed as an irritant by many. The sentence The majority leader enthused over his party's gains was rejected by 76 percent of the Usage Panel in our 1982 survey, by 65 percent in 1997, and by 66 percent in 2009.

http: //corpus. byu. edu/coca

http: //corpus. byu. edu/coca

Enthuse in formal writing Even on Putin's signature issue, Chechnya, his supporters are only

Enthuse in formal writing Even on Putin's signature issue, Chechnya, his supporters are only slightly more enthused than the average citizen about keeping the republic Russian at all costs. (Foreign Affairs, 2001) … current fashion overstates the sources of conflict in that region and enthuses too much about the need for Pan-European arrangements. (Journal of International Affairs, 1991)

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. im·pact USAGE NOTE: Impact came under criticism

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. im·pact USAGE NOTE: Impact came under criticism in the 1960 s for its use both as a noun and verb, at least in the figurative use describing a dramatic influence or effect. The noun was criticized as a pointless hyperbole and as a vogue word. But complaints about the noun were not long-lived, and this usage has firmly established itself as standard. In our 2001 survey, 93 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the noun in the sentence The program might have a positive moral impact on inner-city youth. …

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. im·pact USAGE NOTE: … Whatever the reason,

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. im·pact USAGE NOTE: … Whatever the reason, a large majority of the Usage Panel has disapproved of the use of the verb meaning "to have an effect" since the early 1980 s. Even in our 2001 survey, 85 percent of the Panel rejected the intransitive use in the sentence These policies are impacting on our ability to achieve success, and 80 percent rejected the transitive use in the sentence The court ruling will impact the education of minority students.

Different meanings of “grammar” vs. I’ll often use the term “usage” instead.

Different meanings of “grammar” vs. I’ll often use the term “usage” instead.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Usage Panel

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Usage Panel

American Heritage Dictionary Front Matter The Usage Panel should not be thought of as

American Heritage Dictionary Front Matter The Usage Panel should not be thought of as an academy empowered to rule on all questions of disputed usage. That is an expedient that the English-speaking world has rejected since the 18 th century, and in a world where English is established as the language of a heterogeneous international community, the idea that any group or individual might arrogate the authority to fix standards seems not only illiberal but absurd. … Ultimately, readers will want to make up their own minds about each of such usage issues, but the opinions of the Panel may provide a useful point of reference. (xii)

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they • Split infinitives • Starting a sentence with And or But

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they • Split infinitives • Starting a sentence with And or But

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they • Split infinitives • Starting a sentence with And or But

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. they USAGE NOTE: … Most of the

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. they USAGE NOTE: … Most of the Usage Panel still upholds the practice of traditional pronoun agreement, but in decreasing numbers. In our 1996 survey, 80 percent rejected the use of they in the sentence A person at that level should not have to keep track of the hours they put in. In 2008, however, only 62 percent of the Panel still held this view, and by 2011, just 55 percent disapproved of the sentence Each student must have their pencil sharpened. …

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. they USAGE NOTE: … Moreover, in 2008,

American Heritage College Dictionary, 5 th ed. they USAGE NOTE: … Moreover, in 2008, a majority of the Panel accepted the use of they with antecedents such as anyone and everyone, pronouns that are grammatically singular but carry a plural meaning. Some 56 percent accepted the sentence If anyone calls, tell them I can't come to the phone, and 59 percent accepted Everyone returned to their seats. The trend, then, is clear. Writers who choose to use they with a singular antecedent should rest assured that they are in good company—even if a fair number of traditionalists still wince at the usage.

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they • Split infinitives • Starting a sentence with And or But To boldly go

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they

How we judge “acceptability”: Four case studies • Different from/than/to • Singular generic they • Split infinitives • Starting a sentence with And or But

Survey Says…: Determining What Usage Is and Isn’t Acceptable Anne Curzan acurzan@umich. edu TESOL

Survey Says…: Determining What Usage Is and Isn’t Acceptable Anne Curzan [email protected] edu TESOL 2016 International Convention April 8, 2016