more english

Thomas DiBenedetto TDibenedetto at DCCMC.ORG
Thu Mar 9 13:29:35 CST 2000

Elizabeth Kiser wrote:
I apologize to everyone for starting such an unfriendly discussion on what
is normally a very friendly and helpful listserv.
I guess it should be for me to apologize for making you feel that this
discussion is unfriendly. I certainly had no unfriendly intent. I merely
wished to make my postion clear and unambiguous. I do that with all my
friends :).

Tom DiBenedetto
tdib at

-----Original Message-----
From:  [mailto:kiser at ANDREW.CMU.EDU]
Sent: March 09, 2000 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: more english

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

I did not say that I thought the CBE's rule sounded "nice" to me, and
anyone is free to reject whatever standard usage they deem unacceptable.
But if you do this, though it is correct *to you*, and you may be
absolutely right, it is wrong according to the current (even if archaic)
rules. Is this a big deal? Perhaps not. It will probably not throw anyone
off too much if you use a verb that you believe is most agreeable (though a
few people are going to cringe either way). Personally, I can see where
either a plural or a singular verb would seem correct. However, it seemed
that everyone was offering only their opinions or suspicions on the matter,
and I thought since I had access to some reference books, it might be
useful to find a rule from a source that was at least somewhat
authoritative--even if it is not THE source, as Dr. DiBenedetto so
emphatically pointed out. If you feel unsure and don't have a strong
opinion either way, then I would say follow the rule. If the rule is so
absolutely offensive to you that you feel using it would compromise your
scientific intregity, then for goodness sake, don't use it. Just understand
that some people are going to disagree based on an editorial standard. If
that standard needs to be changed, and perhaps it does, then it ought to be
taken up with whatever source seems most authoritave (and I am certainly no
expert on which source this should be).

Beth Kiser

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