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Old 12-11-2011, 11:13 PM   #16
GA Russell
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Feeble racist arguments...
Thanks for the heads up, Miguel! I'm putting you on my ignore list.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:59 AM   #17
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Thanks for the heads up, Miguel! I'm putting you on my ignore list.
You're welcome to. Just remember checking the appropriate historical corpora before laying the blame on "uneducated black farmers and rock singers"
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In British English, it is mandatory to have the preposition "of" after the word "couple", in its meaning "two of something".

Eg, "A couple of questions", "A couple of kg of apples".

I've noticed many Americans on this forum omit the word "of" and say, for example, "I have a couple questions". This just looks wrong to me . Is this an acceptable practice in US English?
I think it started with beer commercials, where some clown would utter phrases such as "We're talking smooth. We're talking taste. We're talking beer!" No, you're not. You're talking sans prepositions, and it sounds juvenile. But what do I know? I'm still haven't reconciled myself to the fact that 'read' is now used as a noun.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by GA Russell View Post
Harry, I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I would say that the omitting of the "of" is always wrong.

In the past sixty years with the growth of rock 'n' roll and blues lyrics into mainstream speech, the idioms (if that's the right word) of the uneducated black tenant farmers who wrote and sang the songs have crept into white colloquial conversation.

So I can imagine an author writing as his characters would speak, but I would think that there is no excuse for the dropping of the "of" outside of an appropriate narrative.
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Originally Posted by miguel1626 View Post
Feeble racist arguments are so easy to refute. Just do a search of the Corpus of Historical American English for "couple [n*]" and see how many instances of pre-1900 usage you'll be able to find...
I don't see GA Russell's statement as racist. The early blues pioneers were, by and large, not known for having advanced degrees in their résumés. That's not to criticize them, it's just recognizing the history. In the antebellum/Jim Crow South where the blues originated, a decent education was something to which few people of color had access.

But that Corpus of Historical American English to which you linked, miguel1626, is fascinating, and certainly brings up a wealth of instances where the word 'couple' was not followed by the preposition 'of'.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:55 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by WT Sharpe View Post
I don't see GA Russell's statement as racist. The early blues pioneers were, by and large, not known for having advanced degrees in their résumés. That's not to criticize them, it's just recognizing the history. In the antebellum/Jim Crow South where the blues originated, a decent education was something to which few people of color had access.

But that Corpus of Historical American English to which you linked, miguel1626, is fascinating, and certainly brings up a wealth of instances where the word 'couple' was not followed by the preposition 'of'.
It's not racist because it's falsifiable in the sense that black jazz musicians spoke the Queen's English, it's racist because it assumes that the erosion of English grammar in America came from black people. Poor whites in America were speaking mangled English long before black jazz musicians came along.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:46 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
...Poor whites in America were speaking mangled English long before black jazz musicians came along.
Well, I can't argue with that. It is a mistake to place the mangling of the English language on any one group.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:50 PM   #22
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Well, I can't argue with that. It is a mistake to place the mangling of the English language on any one group.
Agreed. Though Henry Higgins has some thoughts on that.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
And, speaking as someone with a degree in English, you can pretty much never say that a style of writing is "always wrong". Odds are, no matter what the rule is, someone has broken it before and broken it to good effect.
Not to mention that pretty much all of the current grammar rules are the result of old rules being broken often and consistently enough that they either changed or vanished.

Language changes as it's being used, that's just the way things are. Using it's instead of "it is" in any form writing used to be unacceptable, today it's practically the norm. At least where I live, and in informal contexts like a forum post.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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Not to mention that pretty much all of the current grammar rules are the result of old rules being broken often and consistently enough that they either changed or vanished.

Language changes as it's being used, that's just the way things are. Using it's instead of "it is" in any form writing used to be unacceptable, today it's practically the norm. At least where I live, and in informal contexts like a forum post.
However, one can certainly say that using "it's" to mean "belonging to it", as a very sizeable proportion of people here on MR do, definitely is wrong.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:20 PM   #25
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I would now like to propose a discussion on the proper contraction for "you all":

y'all or ya'll ?

Y'all follows the grammatical contraction 'rules', but it looks silly to me. I'm a Ya'll girl.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:24 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
However, one can certainly say that using "it's" to mean "belonging to it", as a very sizeable proportion of people here on MR do, definitely is wrong.
Very much so. The difference with that situation compared to "it's" and "it is" is that the rule broken in your example has to do what the word(s) actually mean.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:38 AM   #27
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I would now like to propose a discussion on the proper contraction for "you all":

y'all or ya'll ?

Y'all follows the grammatical contraction 'rules', but it looks silly to me. I'm a Ya'll girl.
Aren't they both mis-spellings of the name of a kind of small boat?
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:54 PM   #28
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Not to mention that pretty much all of the current grammar rules are the result of old rules being broken often and consistently enough that they either changed or vanished.

Language changes as it's being used, that's just the way things are. Using it's instead of "it is" in any form writing used to be unacceptable, today it's practically the norm. At least where I live, and in informal contexts like a forum post.

Yes, this not not Latin. English is a living breathing language that changes with time. American English is determined by how Americans in general write and speak and the rules are written/changed to reflect what is being used.

I would say "of" is probably still considered proper, but falling slowly out of use just like the difference between shall and will has.

As for y'all vs ya'll I have seen both in such great numbers I would have a hard time guessing which is right. y'all is proper contraction form IF its "you all" but some claim its "ya all" which would make ya'll correct. Also it is pronounced yawl so ya'll seems to fit that better.

So I dunno! But I would lean towards y'all being "proper."
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:39 PM   #29
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My opinion is y'all is dialect, not proper English. Yes, it could become proper, just as TV became for television or xerox for photocopy, but it takes more widespread adoption. I'm not even sure who gets to decide when something becomes proper English but I feel a bit stodgy about it. The "I learned it a certain way so why should it change" attitude.

I've mentioned the Chicago Manual of Style before along with Strunk & White. If something is clearly defined in those then that, to me, is the "right" way and the rest of you can get off my lawn. At least I know I'm peculiar about it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:50 PM   #30
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My opinion is y'all is dialect, not proper English. Yes, it could become proper, just as TV became for television or xerox for photocopy, but it takes more widespread adoption. I'm not even sure who gets to decide when something becomes proper English but I feel a bit stodgy about it. The "I learned it a certain way so why should it change" attitude.

I've mentioned the Chicago Manual of Style before along with Strunk & White. If something is clearly defined in those then that, to me, is the "right" way and the rest of you can get off my lawn. At least I know I'm peculiar about it.
YOu mean this?

http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Writers...3913711&sr=8-1

Horrible book. I have to use it as the defacto guide to everything I write for grad school but can never find anything in it and if I do it usually does not make sense.
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