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Old 01-13-2012, 01:11 PM   #67
QuantumIguana
Philosopher
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Grammarians are always wrong - eventually, that is. Language changes, despite all efforts to hold it back, it always has. We would be speaking Indo-European if it didn't change. Fighting against language change is like trying to hold back the tide. Language always has rules, and as language changes, we have to discover what those rules are. I agree with the poster that I might say "I'll have a couple steaks" to refer to just expressing a desire for more than one steak, but I might say "I'll have a couple of those steaks" to refer to specific steaks. Using "couple of" all the time seems very stiff. Of course, if an editor says "don't use 'couple of'" then you might want to go along with their demands. I'd be more inclined to drop the "of" in character's dialog than in other text.

Being a Northerner, I don't use "y'all", but I can see how it can be quite useful. "You" can be used as a singular or a plural, but this leads to confusion, people commonly get confused whether it refers to them in particular, or to the whole group. With "y'all", it's clear that this is referring to a group, not just a particular person. "All ya'll" seems redundant, but it refers not just to multiple people, but to everyone present. Standard English is just another dialect of English. The term "King's English" or "Queen's English" is just that, the dialect of the people at the top of the social pyramid.
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