Prescriptive Grammar and Writing Numbers

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:01 pm UTC

Haven't read through this thread, but I recently ran into this, and it's *always* been a pet peeve for my roommate. When someone sends out formal invitations (to a wedding, graduation, etc.) and they write out the date as (for example)

'The fourteenth day of May, Two-Thousand and Eight'

I actually had a (very short) discussion about this with someone, though I can't remember who, now, about using 'and' incorrectly with numbers, and found out that they didn't know any better, either.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby davef » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:03 pm UTC

I presume it's the hyphen that's bugging you there? The 'and' seems correct to me.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Will » Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Haven't read through this thread, but I recently ran into this, and it's *always* been a pet peeve for my roommate. When someone sends out formal invitations (to a wedding, graduation, etc.) and they write out the date as (for example)

'The fourteenth day of May, Two-Thousand and Eight'

I actually had a (very short) discussion about this with someone, though I can't remember who, now, about using 'and' incorrectly with numbers, and found out that they didn't know any better, either.


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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby MFHodge » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:12 pm UTC

davef wrote:
22/7 wrote:'The fourteenth day of May, Two-Thousand and Eight'

I actually had a (very short) discussion about this with someone, though I can't remember who, now, about using 'and' incorrectly with numbers, and found out that they didn't know any better, either.

I presume it's the hyphen that's bugging you there? The 'and' seems correct to me.

I believe that it is another example of BrE versus AmE. I wouldn't consider either "wrong".
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:08 pm UTC

At least in American English (I can't say for the Queen's) it's incorrect to say, for instance
'One Hundred and Three'
If at any point you use 'and', you're implying a decimal.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:10 pm UTC

Erm? Since when?

Last I checked "Four and Twenty" (as in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie") was an archaic and unnecessarily florid way of saying "24", not 4.2, which would be creepy as hell.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Erm? Since when?

Last I checked "Four and Twenty" (as in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie") was an archaic and unnecessarily florid way of saying "24", not 4.2, which would be creepy as hell.


You misunderstand. If I say One Hundred and Four, then I must continue it with "Four what? Hundredths? Thousandths? Millionths?" Four and twenty is an archaic way of saying 24, yes, but four and twenty is not the same as twenty and four, as twenty and four would indicate that there are 4 somethingths in addition to the twenty.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:21 pm UTC

Not really, any more than "4 and 20" implies that there's twenty somethings in addition.

A number with no words or symbols to denote fractions after it is generally considered a whole number. So "Twenty and Four" is two whole numbers.

Unless you like to just leave the last words off your sentences.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:28 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Not really, any more than "4 and 20" implies that there's twenty somethings in addition.

A number with no words or symbols to denote fractions after it is generally considered a whole number. So "Twenty and Four" is two whole numbers.

Unless you like to just leave the last words off your sentences.


The Rule Book of Grammar and Punctuation wrote:Rule 7. When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.


Examples:
$15,768.13: Fifteen thousand, seven hundred sixty-eight dollars and thirteen cents

$1054.21: One thousand fifty-four dollars and twenty-one cents
NOTE: The comma is now commonly omitted in four-digit whole numbers.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:31 pm UTC

Which is neat for prescriptive grammar and punctuation, I suppose, but it's not how it's been used for roughly...ever.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:43 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Which is neat for prescriptive grammar and punctuation, I suppose, but it's not how it's been used for roughly...ever.

And Ebonics is a legitimate language...
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby nameless » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:46 pm UTC

4 and 20 = four and twenty
4 and 20 hundredths = 4.20
four dollars and 20 cents = $4.20
four and twenty one-hundredths of a dollar = $4.20
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:48 pm UTC

Most true grammatical mistakes (as opposed to the prescribed ones like "don't end a sentence with a preposition" or "'they' is not an acceptable gender neutral singular pronoun") are mistakes because they obscure meaning, or cause a sentence to mean something else.

One hundred and Five, translated into mathematical terms, is "100 + 5". 105. Not particularly wrong. Unless, for some totally illogical reason, you decide to assume they forgot to complete their sentence, and there's a fraction coming. Furthermore, saying or writing "One Hundred Five" is awkward.

In fact, I think even within that prescriptivist tome there, the "and" rule only applies if there *is* something after the decimal point, which is to say, they're telling you not to say "and" twice.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:'The fourteenth day of May, Two Thousand and Eight'

is incorrect, as per the origin of the discussion. So is writing a check for "Two hundred and eight" dollars. They should be, repsectively, 'Two Thousand Eight' and 'Two hundred eight'. Just because it feels awkward doesn't mean it isn't correct. And the wording "Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format" is actually quite clear, it is to be used only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:17 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
22/7 wrote:'The fourteenth day of May, Two Thousand and Eight'

is incorrect, as per the origin of the discussion. So is writing a check for "Two hundred and eight" dollars. They should be, repsectively, 'Two Thousand Eight' and 'Two hundred eight'. Just because it feels awkward doesn't mean it isn't correct. And the wording "Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format" is actually quite clear, it is to be used only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.


REALLY Annoying Misconception: Prescriptive grammar is especially useful, ever.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:REALLY Annoying Misconception: Prescriptive grammar is especially useful, ever.

Didn't say that it was. I was merely defending my position.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby GhostWolfe » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:31 am UTC

[nitpick]

22/7 wrote:
The Rule Book of Grammar and Punctuation wrote:Rule 7. When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Bolded for different intepretation. I couldn't find anything in the link you provided that suggested the "and" in Two Thousand and Eight is wrong.

[/nitpick]

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby phlip » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:13 am UTC

Numbers like "One hundred and one", "Two thousand and seven", "One hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six and three quarters" are all correct here. It's how I say them, it's how everyone I know says them, and it's how we were taught to say them in school.

Trying to figure out exactly how I say stuff... I think the algorithm is:
The number's broken down into (up to 99) units, (up to 9) hundreds, (up to 999) thousands, millions, short billions, etc... and strung together, separated with commas, with an "and" before the units, if present (numbers like "One thousand, one hundred", with no units, have no "and"... though I'd probably call this number "eleven hundred"... more complications). The bigger bits, for thousands, millions, etc, themselves also have "and" between the hundreds and the rest, if they're both there.

Annoying misconception: Just because you and everyone in your area speaks like x, or random style guide #47 says to speak like x, everyone should speak like x. Especially when x is a matter of style, more than grammar.

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby oxoiron » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:13 am UTC

Belial wrote:Last I checked "Four and Twenty" (as in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie") was an archaic and unnecessarily florid way of saying "24", not 4.2, which would be creepy as hell.

I must be missing something. Why are 4.2 blackbirds baked in a pie any creepier than four and twenty? Either way, it's nasty blackbirds in a pie.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:20 am UTC

22/7 wrote:
22/7 wrote:'The fourteenth day of May, Two Thousand and Eight'

is incorrect, as per the origin of the discussion. So is writing a check for "Two hundred and eight" dollars. They should be, repsectively, 'Two Thousand Eight' and 'Two hundred eight'. Just because it feels awkward doesn't mean it isn't correct. And the wording "Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format" is actually quite clear, it is to be used only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.


They are "correct" to avoid awkwardness like this.Prescriptivists forget this.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:26 am UTC

oxoiron wrote:
Belial wrote:Last I checked "Four and Twenty" (as in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie") was an archaic and unnecessarily florid way of saying "24", not 4.2, which would be creepy as hell.

I must be missing something. Why are 4.2 blackbirds baked in a pie any creepier than four and twenty? Either way, it's nasty blackbirds in a pie.


Are you unfamiliar with the rest of the nursery rhyme?

Hint: creepy singing quarter-bird! Oh noes!
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby xooll » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:07 am UTC

Misconception: Birds can sing after being baked in a pie.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:38 am UTC

GhostWolfe wrote:[nitpick]

22/7 wrote:
The Rule Book of Grammar and Punctuation wrote:Rule 7. When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Bolded for different intepretation. I couldn't find anything in the link you provided that suggested the "and" in Two Thousand and Eight is wrong.

[/nitpick]

/angell

Then you didn't read it, which seems lazy, since I quoted the applicable part, and so did you. It's the part that reads "Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format," if you were wondering. What you bolded doesn't indicate anything because it's a prepositional phrase. The sentence that phrase is a part of indicates that one should throw a comma into a number of five or more digits where the comma would normally go if you were just writing out the number, for instance, six hundred twenty-two thousand, forty-seven.
phlip wrote:Numbers like "One hundred and one", "Two thousand and seven", "One hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six and three quarters" are all correct here. It's how I say them, it's how everyone I know says them, and it's how we were taught to say them in school.

... Sorry if this bruises something but... you and all the people you know doing something doesn't make it right. I'm not saying that people misusing this is going to cause the downfall of society, but it's technically grammatically incorrect (at least in the US). I have absolutely no idea why this is so hard for people to grasp.

phlip wrote:Annoying misconception: Just because you and everyone in your area speaks like x, or random style guide #47 says to speak like x, everyone should speak like x. Especially when x is a matter of style, more than grammar.

... Then you don't know the difference between grammar and style. And for the record, since we're being condescending pricks here, the vast majority of people in my area also misuse the "and" when saying/writing numbers. That's why it's a [b]misconception[/i].
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Meowsma » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:45 am UTC

Belial wrote:Furthermore, saying or writing "One Hundred Five" is awkward.


Actually, it's not. What it IS, however, is unequivocal, unlike "one hundred and five".

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:47 am UTC

masher wrote:Misconception: MM/DD/YYYY is a good way of writing the date.

wtf is with putting the month first?
It's like writing 245 if you mean four hundred and twenty five.

By that logic, DD/MM/YYYY is like writing 524 for four hundred twenty-five.

YYYYMMDDhhmmss is the only logically consistent way of denoting time. :-)

oxoiron wrote:
Belial wrote:Last I checked "Four and Twenty" (as in "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie") was an archaic and unnecessarily florid way of saying "24", not 4.2, which would be creepy as hell.

I must be missing something. Why are 4.2 blackbirds baked in a pie any creepier than four and twenty? Either way, it's nasty blackbirds in a pie.

Meh, I suspect it's not a sweet pie, but a meat pie. I don't know why one with blackbirds would be inherently worse than one with chicken or turkey or steak and kidney or whatever.

22/7 wrote:
phlip wrote:Numbers like "One hundred and one", "Two thousand and seven", "One hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six and three quarters" are all correct here. It's how I say them, it's how everyone I know says them, and it's how we were taught to say them in school.

... Sorry if this bruises something but... you and all the people you know doing something doesn't make it right. I'm not saying that people misusing this is going to cause the downfall of society, but it's technically grammatically incorrect (at least in the US).

In case you missed it, not everyone here is in the US. What's "technically grammatically incorrect (according to one personal view of prescriptive grammar)" is *not* necessarily incorrect everywhere English is spoken. If someone is taught a particular grammatical structure in school, which is the home of grammatical prescriptivism in my experience, you really don't have two legs to stand on when you claim that's incorrect.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Meowsma » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:58 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:In case you missed it, not everyone here is in the US. What's "technically grammatically incorrect (according to one personal view of prescriptive grammar)" is *not* necessarily incorrect everywhere English is spoken. If someone is taught a particular grammatical structure in school, which is the home of grammatical prescriptivism in my experience, you really don't have two legs to stand on when you claim that's incorrect.


If you can show me something that supports that as a difference between American English and any other English, I'll buy that argument, but I've never once heard that as a difference. There ARE things that are standard across all forms of the language, and I'd put money that this is one of those things.

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby GhostWolfe » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:58 am UTC

22/7 wrote:Then you didn't read it, which seems lazy...

I read the whole thing, so keep your insinuations to yourself thanks.

The Rule Book of Grammar and Punctuation wrote:Rule 7. When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Clearly you've missed the point I was trying, to make, so here's another shot: this "rule" refers to numbers with decimals, which the number you're nitpicking does not have. Therefore, I would be at the very least wary in trying to generalise this rule to the situation you described. To me at least, this rule does nothing to describe how you should treat a number that does not "use" (for want of a better word), the decimal places.

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby MotorToad » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:23 am UTC

Eleven score and eleven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and didn't have to argue over semantics.

Approximation of pi: do you really think you have it in you to remove "hunnerd 'n' ten" from the global vocabulary? It bugs me, too, but not as much as "they" as third person singular, and I got lambasted over that in some other thread. :-\ (And I'm not sure I'll ever win that one either.)
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby phlip » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:42 am UTC

Meowsma wrote:If you can show me something that supports that as a difference between American English and any other English, I'll buy that argument, but I've never once heard that as a difference.

I'll come back when I find something more concrete (proper style guides are hard to find via Google...) but in the meantime here's a random site found via Wikipedia (with all of the authority that such a description entails).

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:49 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:In case you missed it, not everyone here is in the US. What's "technically grammatically incorrect (according to one personal view of prescriptive grammar)" is *not* necessarily incorrect everywhere English is spoken. If someone is taught a particular grammatical structure in school, which is the home of grammatical prescriptivism in my experience, you really don't have two legs to stand on when you claim that's incorrect.

I don't think I missed it, I think I've said that at least twice now. However, I also believe I'm the only one who's used any qualifier like "in the US," and yet I'm supposed to back down and say, "you're right, I said in the US, this is how it is and it's ok that you've said something along the lines of 'I don't like that,' or 'that's not how my friends talk' and so therefore you're right, all of English is the way you're describing it." I'm the one using conditionals here, and for some reason I'm being attacked on all sides as if I'm saying that all English everywhere works this way.

GhostWolfe wrote:The Rule Book of Grammar and Punctuation wrote:
Rule 7. When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.

Clearly you've missed the point I was trying, to make, so here's another shot: this "rule" refers to numbers with decimals, which the number you're nitpicking does not have. Therefore, I would be at the very least wary in trying to generalise this rule to the situation you described. To me at least, this rule does nothing to describe how you should treat a number that does not "use" (for want of a better word), the decimal places.

The rule refers to decimals only insomuch as to say that the word 'and' is to be used in place of a decimal. Let's requote it.
Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format


GhostWolfe wrote:Misconception: There's only one way to interpret a statement.
I've not actually said this. I've more than once qualified my statement with "in the US." You're more than welcome to disagree, but at the very least cite something.

MotorToad wrote:Eleven score and eleven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal and didn't have to argue over semantics.

Approximation of pi: do you really think you have it in you to remove "hunnerd 'n' ten" from the global vocabulary? It bugs me, too, but not as much as "they" as third person singular, and I got lambasted over that in some other thread. :-\ (And I'm not sure I'll ever win that one either.)

That's just it. Just so we're clear on this one. I DON'T CARE HOW YOU SPEAK OR WRITE, AND I'M NOT TRYING TO CHANGE EITHER. I'M SIMPLY STATING THAT IT IS GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT IN THE U.S. Surely that's clear enough?
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:50 am UTC

phlip wrote:
Meowsma wrote:If you can show me something that supports that as a difference between American English and any other English, I'll buy that argument, but I've never once heard that as a difference.

I'll come back when I find something more concrete (proper style guides are hard to find via Google...) but in the meantime here's a random site found via Wikipedia (with all of the authority that such a description entails).

... that's an internet translator...
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

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Prescriptive Grammar and Writing Numbers

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

Misconception: English is like French, and actually has a group of people appointed by the government to sit around and decide what is and isn't grammatically and linguistically correct. It is clearly not determined by whatever people seem to find acceptable....
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Katastrophy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:46 pm UTC

English is a living language, and therefore subject to change. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what some obscure grammar book says is correct, it matters what the people who use the language believe is correct. It's obviously no longer correct to use words like "thee" or "thou", Twenty-four is much more common (and modern) than four and twenty (Though I always loved that one), the semi-colon is going extinct and using the word "and" when describing a large number is common, understood by just about everyone, and therefore just as accurate your belief that it is used iff (not a typo) there is decimal point.

Long story short: If it wasn't right before, common usage has made it so.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby MFHodge » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:49 pm UTC

Meowsma wrote:If you can show me something that supports that as a difference between American English and any other English, I'll buy that argument, but I've never once heard that as a difference. There ARE things that are standard across all forms of the language, and I'd put money that this is one of those things.

http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogs ... mbers.html

Another number difference that Better Half often remarks upon is the expression of the years of this decade. BrE speakers tend to include an and between the two thousand and the unit number, while AmE speakers tend not to:

2007 =
BrE typical: two thousand and seven
AmE typical: two thousand seven

Because these tend to be written as Arabic numerals instead of words, it's difficult to 'prove' the extent of these tendencies without access to a recent, well-transcribed spoken corpus of both dialects, which I don't have. However, it has been noted elsewhere. If anyone else has any facts and figures to back up these observations, by all means, let us know about them!
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby zylle » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:55 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:REALLY Annoying Misconception: Prescriptive grammar is especially useful, ever.



especially since speaking in understandable yet stylishly incorrect english is practically a sport. (and kinda fun, too)

Misconception: Posession of ample breasts, blonde hair and a giggly personality cannot exist simultaneously with intelligence.

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REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:36 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Misconception: English is like French, and actually has a group of people appointed by the government to sit around and decide what is and isn't grammatically and linguistically correct. It is clearly not determined by whatever people seem to find acceptable....

Yay for thinly veiled strawmen! And again, your argument indicates that Ebonics is also quite legitimate.
VTHodge wrote:stuff

I know you were directing this at Meowsma, but I would like to point out that, yet again, a reference has been cited and quoted that supports what I was saying, thanks Hodge.
Katastrophy wrote:English is a living language, and therefore subject to change. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what some obscure grammar book says is correct, it matters what the people who use the language believe is correct. It's obviously no longer correct to use words like "thee" or "thou", Twenty-four is much more common (and modern) than four and twenty (Though I always loved that one), the semi-colon is going extinct and using the word "and" when describing a large number is common, understood by just about everyone, and therefore just as accurate your belief that it is used iff (not a typo) there is decimal point.

Long story short: If it wasn't right before, common usage has made it so.

Yes, you're absolutely right. Those rules be completely unnecessary, because that are how we talk.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Katastrophy » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:42 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Katastrophy wrote:English is a living language, and therefore subject to change. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what some obscure grammar book says is correct, it matters what the people who use the language believe is correct. It's obviously no longer correct to use words like "thee" or "thou", Twenty-four is much more common (and modern) than four and twenty (Though I always loved that one), the semi-colon is going extinct and using the word "and" when describing a large number is common, understood by just about everyone, and therefore just as accurate your belief that it is used iff (not a typo) there is decimal point.

Long story short: If it wasn't right before, common usage has made it so.

Yes, you're absolutely right. Those rules be completely unnecessary, because that are how we talk.
As much as you're trying to be sarcastic, I'm sure I've said something similar to that before. However, you missed a very important part of my argument. Common usage makes it correct. I believe the Oxford dictionary adds new words based on how often they're used in printed works, but there's no grammar dictionary I'm aware of. Show me common usage of mixing tenses like that, and you have a case.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby 22/7 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:50 pm UTC

Katastrophy wrote:As much as you're trying to be sarcastic, I'm sure I've said something similar to that before. However, you missed a very important part of my argument. Common usage makes it correct. I believe the Oxford dictionary adds new words based on how often they're used in printed works, but there's no grammar dictionary I'm aware of. Show me common usage of mixing tenses like that, and you have a case.

Common usage may make a new word part of the English language (email, for instance), but it does not change the grammar of the language. If it did, the grammatical laws in certain areas of US would require that the word fuck be used at the very least three times per sentence, and that noun-verb agreement is in reality quite optional (or actually wrong). I'm not talking about how people speak in their day to day lives, or even how they write emails/letters (yeah, because people still write letters) to their friends and family. I'm staying strictly in the realm of grammatically correct (formal, if you will), US English, which is often only written.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Angelene » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

I'm just sad that the US got an English all to itself.
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Re: REALLY Annoying Misconceptions

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:23 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Belial wrote:Misconception: English is like French, and actually has a group of people appointed by the government to sit around and decide what is and isn't grammatically and linguistically correct. It is clearly not determined by whatever people seem to find acceptable....

Yay for thinly veiled strawmen! And again, your argument indicates that Ebonics is also quite legitimate.


Sure. In settings where Ebonics is appropriate. As I'm not terribly familiar, I can't tell you whether there are parts of it that actually obscure or obviate meaning, so those parts would still be generally bad, but the rest of it is just context sensitive.

Common usage may make a new word part of the English language (email, for instance), but it does not change the grammar of the language.


Yes it does.

See also: "You" as a second person singular.
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