taxons and orthography
robinl at CONNECT.AB.CA
Wed Mar 8 19:40:12 CST 2000
Jeeech. Sir Lammers, would you say "General Motors was the largest company
in the world", or would you say "General Motors were the largest company in
----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas Lammers <lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU>
To: <TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG>
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2000 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: taxons and orthography
> At 04:12 PM 3/8/00 -0500, Dick Jensen wrote:
> >I hate to disagree with my colleague Tom Lammers, but my view is that
> >taxonomic names are collective nouns and, when referred to as a single
> >entity (e.g., the Asteraceae), take a singular verb: The Asteraceae is
> >circumscribed by... I know that Asteraceae is a plural form in Latin,
> >we are not using Latin, we are using English. Therefore, the rules of
> >English dictate the proper usage.
> Consider this, Dick: Would you say, "The Beatles is a British rock
> band?" I wouldn't. "The Beatles are a British rock band." "Beatles" is
> collective noun in your sense, exactly equivalent to "Rosaceae", yet I
> don't think it would ever take a singular verb. Our ear recognizes the -s
> as indicative of plural, and inserts a plural verb. Our ear doesn't
> hear -ae as plural, so a singular verb "sounds okay".
> But it ain't! : - )
> Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
> Department of Biology and Microbiology
> University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
> Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA
> e-mail: lammers at uwosh.edu
> phone (office): 920-424-7085
> phone (herbarium): 920-424-1002
> fax: 920-424-1101
> Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
> biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
> "Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
> -- Anonymous
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