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[ale] [OT] on grammar



Strictly speaking "ain't" isn't a contraction because "am" doesn't
contain "i".  :p

I'm not suggesting that language doesn't evolve or even that it
shouldn't be allowed to evolve (the French however have agencies
specifically to prevent "corruption" of "la belle langue" - go figure).
I was saying that you can't argue it is "proper English" when the
existing rules say it isn't. 

Heck, I'm not even saying I wouldn't say "It is me." (or more commonly
"It's me." myself. 

Star Trak:TNG Trivia:  Command Data didn't use contractions.  An
imposter was once discovered because he used a contraction.

Anyway this will be my last post on the subject - my first one was meant
more to be amusing than anything else.

-----Original Message-----
From: ale-bounces at ale.org [mailto:ale-bounces at ale.org] On Behalf Of
George Carless
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 5:00 PM
To: Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts - Yes! We run Linux!
Subject: [ale] [OT] on grammar

Lightner, Jeff (jlightner at water.com) wrote the following on Tue, Jun 29,
2010 at 08:36:18AM -0400:
> My point is "proper English" is understood to be that which is
> grammatically correct not that which is in common usage.   The
> discussion was about the grammar.  The rules of grammar are written
and
> ignoring them to make a point doesn't serve anyone.   
>
Except that the history of the English language is one of continous
flux, and what we call "proper English" or, indeed, 
proper grammar, today, is as much a matter of convention as it is a
matter of rule; as I said, we're not the French. See, 
if you will, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputes_in_English_grammar

This isn't to say that rules can or should be thrown out of the window,
but it is to say that there's great disagreement 
about a great many things (such as whether it suffices to say "thrown
out the window," as many Americans would, without 
the "of"), and that there are many cases where the supposedly "correct"
grammar has been superseded by the theoretically 
"incorrect."  Beyond that, there are umpteen questions of style vs.
'correctness'; my time in the US ("U.S."?  "USA"?) has 
led me to typically stick my punctuation inside my quotes, for example,
where in England I might have "thought different".

Incidentally, your use of "ain't" in your original message is a perfect
example of all of this.  What makes "ain't" any 
less valid, from a purist grammatical perspective, than, say, "won't"?
Each is a contraction; "ain't" from "am not" is no 
more perverse than "won't" from "will not"; and yet while "ain't" raises
snickers, "won't"--today--is perfectly 
acceptable.

Ultimately, no, the English rules of grammar are *not* written; at
least, not in any full, immutable fashion. And thank 
goodness for that.

George
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