[DWJ] different than, What are you reading?

Helen Harvey helen.harvey at sjc.ox.ac.uk
Fri Nov 6 12:24:19 EST 2009


...Or rather, made up rules, invented in an attempt to make English as high status as Latin was. I'm pretty sure repositions at the end of sentences is one of those. I think split infinitives is too. Same with third person singular "ungendered" (yeah right) pronoun "he". "They" (which we still use casually to refer to a singular third person, gender unknown; not because modern speakers are sloppy, but because English speakers never stopped using it) was used for centuries without it being a problem, then the 18thc grammarians came along and imposed new rules, just because.

Well, they did it because, imposing rules based on Latin rules meant that, after England adopted the vernacular as its official language of government, etc, there was still some way of linguistically differentiating the elite, educated class, from the common and uneducated.

So basically, by conforming to their rules, you are perpetuating the divided and hierarchical class structures that upper class 18thc elites sought to maintain and reinforce. Or something.

H

________________________________________
From: dwj-bounces at suberic.net [dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Mark Allums [mark at allums.com]
Sent: 06 November 2009 15:37
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: [DWJ] different than, What are you reading?


One can be "different to" another, as well as different from them.  I
think "different than" is quite an old phrase, and was originally based
on a grammatical mistake.  Today, it is considered a "practical" usage,
much like ending sentences with prepositions are beginning to be
accepted.  I still cringe to hear it, however.

Of course prepositions, like other parts of speech, are different in
Latin and Greek from prepositions in English, and I understand that some
of the old rules of English grammar are misconceptions based on rules of
Latin grammar.

Mark A.




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