5x6 (5x6) wrote in linguaphiles,

Prescriptivism vs descriptivism

An old battle, isn't it? I've always been more or less on the latter side, to an extent. Indeed, there are few people out there who stick firmly to one concept (up to split infinitives and ending prepositions) or the other (ain't and double negatives in written speech).

I think it is important to differentiate between what sound "wrong"(=uneducated) and "wrong" (=non-native).

I've made a little list (excluding medieval grammarians' inventions like split infinitive) of expressions that sound wrong (at least to some), but not non-native, and made notes of how I, personally, perceive these. I am sure others feel differently, so I'd love to hear comments on that:

1. ain't, double negatives, messed conjugation ("we was"): definitely wrong.
2. Messing objective and direct cases: "Between you and I", "Who's there? - Мe". The former makes me cringe, the latter not so much.
3. Using who instead of whom - basically a norm now; using whom instead of who - I find it unacceptable
4. Confusing farther and further - sounds wrong, but not terribly so.
5. Try and //verb//, instead of "try to //verb//" - OK
6. Like better, instead of like more - perfectly OK
7. Confusing "that" and "which", like in "Conclusions were spelled out in the summary that/which was attached to the report". Formally, the meaning is different (and one demands a comma and the other doesn't), but people routinely confuse them. I accept, but do not like this.

What else did I miss? Yesterday's colloquialisms becoming grammatical norms today?

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