[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [APD] nerd question about "plant" verbage-- to

The editors of most dictionaries in English tend to consider the tomes as descriptive reports of word use. Yet, there are prescriptive linguistic tomes in English. However, even the NY Times Manual of Style and Usage and the Chicago Manual of Style, which many professional editors consider standard references, are not given the status of rules from the mount. For example the NY Times Manual proscribes using the construction "Hopefully, . . ." citing it as a ,misplaced modal auxiliary. However, the NY Times has no qualms about constructions such as " Admittedly,. . .", "Mercifully,...", "Happily,..." Even for the NY Times, the rule is more an affectation than a matter of form or logic.
As for not splitting infinitives, it's a rule that derives from Latin, where infinitives are single words and unsplittable, but serves no logical purpose in English. In fact, the proscription has few authorities that insist upon it and many that argue against it. Indeed, avoiding split infinitives can cause some quite cumbersome constructions relying on meaningless terms to complete the form -- or, as Churchill famously pointed out re this, "It is the sort of thing up with which I will not put."
Regarding the above examples, consider for example, Bill Bryson's _The Mother Tongue -- English and How It Got That Way_.
Folks use nouns as verbs rather frequently but perhaps never more often than during the Nixon administration -- a desperate defense conjures radical responses -- and since then it has remained a popular method among politicos for creating new verbs. Other jargoneers enjoy the looseness. Many folks have been to Patient Intake at a hospital. Although when they leave, which is usually by way of the Cashier's Office, they might feel they have left the "put out" room rather than the output. And the seemingly parallel construction for the opposite of "intake"  ("out take") enjoys currency in hollywood video recording but in few other vernaculars. Certainly few workers in a hospital refer to their activities as out taking -- However, the term seems ready-made for surgeons.
Probalby equally often, verbs  become nouns. A person thought to cut up is sometimes describe as a cut-up. Yet, even though a cut-up is actding up, he or she is rarely called an act-up. It's something with which I can live.

* * * * * * * * * 
Ready or not the big aquatic plant convention is coming November 10, 11, & 12:

----- Original Message ----
From: Erin Poythress <anang3 at yahoo_com>
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Sent: Saturday, October 28, 2006 8:58:50 PM
Subject: Re: [APD] nerd question about "plant" verbage-- to


It appears even the up-to-date if dubious
dictionary.com is also behind the times-- it also only
references the noun form. 


I guess maybe it raises the question about who
legitimates language-- grammarians or the rest of us.
Anyone who's ever worked as a copyeditor has probably
encountered nitpicky matters like this that go on for
hours (seriously), and I just wondered about how
publications such as TFH, botany journals, etc., how
the editors handle the situation.

And thanks for not splitting the infinitive. :P
(Monday, when I collect 42 student essays I'll have
plenty of that...)

Aquatic-Plants mailing list
Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com