more english

Thomas DiBenedetto TDibenedetto at DCCMC.ORG
Thu Mar 9 11:47:47 CST 2000

Elizabeth Kiser wrote:
It may not make sense that families should take a plural verb. Perhaps it
is somewhat arbitrary that taxa at family level and above should take a pl.
verb, while those below take a singular one. However, this IS the rule and
the standard for scientific writers. Therefore, no matter how strongly you
feel that this is a ridiculous way to do things, you will not be correct
unless you follow it.
Sorry Elizabeth, but this strikes me as quite absurd. I must accept being
ridiculous in order to be correct??? Do you imagine that any scientist worth
their salt would value stylistic correctness over scientific correctness?
Sorry, but that is contrary to what I envision being a scientist is all
about. Scientists must have the right to describe their understanding in
terms that make sense to them.
The CBE rule is not THE rule, it is their rule, and I think it rather
archaic. And it is contrary to standard practice in a considerable part of
the modern systematic literature. It is, simply _wrong_, given a certain
scientific perspective. It is true that not all scientists share that
perspective, but for those of us who do, it is not a trivial point. And I
will not use literary constructions which _make no sense_ from my
perspective, no matter how nice you or the CBE think they sound. Nor do I
think that you have the right to ask that of me.

Tom DiBenedetto
tdib at

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