El Coyote Gordo (supergee) wrote,
El Coyote Gordo

Pre and de

There is an endless war between the prescriptivists, who think that Rules are the most important thing, and descriptivists, who think that language is a great place for majority vote. Between this Scylla and Charybdis, there are those of us who want language to be a good tool, flexible and not encumbered by ancient strictures, but precise where it has to be: disinterested and literally are excellent words as long as they mean what they mean, and not what a lot of people would vote for.

I thought I saw hope in Lingua France, an attack on "zombie rules" that picked up good old split infinitive & terminal preposition and approved nothing worse than the mildly annoying "bored of," until it got to the tenth and last, accepting "try and," a usage almost Republican in its stupidity. You don't do two things--try and do--you try to do something. That's almost as bad as the "horrible little oven mitt"* saying "There is no try."

*Thank you, David Brin
Tags: words
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