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#157322 - 03/15/06 09:46 PM Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists:
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Please comment on the relative merits of these options:

1. "He did this, then he did that."

2. "He did this, and then he did that."

and the variant on 1:

1a. "He did this; then he did that."

Please cite any authoritative sources you may know.

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#157323 - 03/15/06 10:12 PM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists:
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
2 and 1a are the same thing and but 1 is something different.

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#157324 - 03/16/06 04:31 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists:
TEd Remington Offline
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Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
No. 1 is an evil stepsister, to No 2, who is a nicer son than cousin No. 1a is. So much for the merit of the relatives.

And of course, as you well know, these are all pretty much the same, but 2 is a more awkward child than are the others. Assuming as he does that the purpose of writing is not only to communicate but also to entertain, James J. Kilpatrick says that cadence is of great, though little-discussed, import.

To many people, the elimination of the "and" improves the cadence of the sentence. It seems to flow more trippingly through the mind and across the tongue.

Now, as an avowed descriptivist (shudder) you need to explain why you used periods, commas, capitalization, and sentence order. Since descriptivists appear to believe that there are no rules, why do you follow rules?

Just curious and all!
_________________________
TEd

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#157325 - 03/16/06 06:41 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists
Faldage Offline
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Posts: 13803
Where did you guys ever get the idea that descriptivists don't believe there are any rules? We describe the language and derive the rules from the language as it is actually used, rather than starting with a set of rules that may have described the language at some time in the nostalgic past and attempting to apply those rules.

Right now I'm looking for the prescripitivist rules that would suggest that one of those sentences listed above is better than any of the others and, hopefully, a citation to some recognized authority acceptable to many, if not all, prescriptivists.

As for the particular use of periods, commas, capitalization, and sentence order in the quoted sentences, they were taken directly, by means of cut-and-paste, from another board where the question has been asked and, to my mind, unsuccessfully answered.

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#157326 - 03/16/06 07:36 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
Since 'then' is an adverb, 1 does not contain two main clauses; however 2 and 1a each do contain two main clauses, and if 'then' is not a conjunction, then 1 implies a causal relation.

--language user, but not prescriptivist

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#157327 - 03/16/06 09:03 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists
maverick Offline
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Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
There's also an implied shift of temporal perspective: 1 suggests a rather helter-skelter succession, whilst 2 suggests merely the sequence of events - eg:

1. He was a builder, then he was a baker, then he sold insurance...

2. She qualified with a degree in Applied Semantics & Sociology, and then she took over the editorship of the Christian Science Moanitor.

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#157328 - 03/16/06 09:05 AM The world according to...
musick Offline
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Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
This reminds me of the three types of people in *this world:

Conformists - All is well and should stay that way!
Non-Conformists - All is not well and should change to a different way... and then stay that way!
Mad Magazine Readers - All should be in constant change for no specific reasons.

(something like that... it's been a while)

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#157329 - 03/16/06 09:57 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists:
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
How 'bout an On-line English Grammar Tutor?
web page

Or, this may be more to your liking, Faldage:
Purdue University

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#157330 - 03/16/06 10:23 AM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Quote:

Since 'then' is an adverb, 1 does not contain two main clauses; however 2 and 1a each do contain two main clauses, and if 'then' is not a conjunction, then 1 implies a causal relation.

--language user, but not prescriptivist




then might be a conjunction IP.
_________________________
TEd

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#157331 - 03/16/06 05:54 PM Re: Question for our card-carrying prescriptivists
inselpeter Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 2379
Loc: New York City
If?

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