November 06, 2003

Correct somebody. Hard and with passion.

Uncle Jazzbeau suggests that "Within every soi disant descriptivist is a prescriptivist dying to drop all the pretense and nonsense and correct somebody. Hard and with passion."

I'm sure that Uncle J. doesn't need to be warned that this can be a difficult subject, as we learned in our earlier discussion of the (non-)plurality of italics, in the course of which Geoff Pullum pointed out that

[a] libertarian who calls me a prescriptivist is a libertarian who is going to be asked to step outside in the back alley for a few minutes of profound unpleasantness, most of which he will spend lying on the ground by the dumpster.

Not that anyone has called Geoff a prescriptivist, exactly :-).

Posted by Mark Liberman at November 6, 2003 09:58 AM