Grammatical nonerrors

Via the often-fascinating BoingBoing, I came across Paul Brians’ page discussing nonerrors in English usage. Because I write a bit and fancy myself as striving to express myself unambiguously, I’d encountered Professor Brians’ site before when looking for pages about usage and common errors in English. I think I may have even corresponded with Professor Brians about his site.

Looking through the list of nonerrors, I spied quite a few with which I mildly disagree. Professor Brians argues, for example, that it’s O.K. to use “since” as a synonym for “because,” as is done in common English. But there are situations where the temporal connotation of “since” renders sentences ambiguous (e.g., “Since they left, the number is fewer”). Therefore, I plan to continue to adhere to many of the usages that Professor Brians considers nonerrors.

When I get a chance, I should create a table of Professor Brians’ nonerrors and illustrate situations in which they become errors.


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Filed under Memo to me, Notes and comments

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