Friday, July 14, 2017

Q&A …

… A Guardian of Good Usage and Grammar - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, I’m very Fowlerian in my turn of mind, but the big change I’ve added to the literature on English usage is an overlay of empiricism — that is, I’ve placed a greater emphasis on how the language is actually used. Fowler, Partridge, Bernstein, and Follett had to guess about what they thought was the predominant usage for a given linguistic problem. But I’m able to use big data to buttress the judgments — and to really tie linguistic prescriptions to how edited English actually appears in print. So that’s something new in English usage.

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