singular debris? <fwd>
pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Thu Jul 22 20:54:11 UTC 1999
I'm pretty sure (and hope I'm right) that the following message was
meant for the list, but came to me privately by mistake. Apologies if
the mistake is mine. --Peter Mc.
--- Begin Forwarded Message ---
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 11:55:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at csli.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: singular debris?
Sender: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at csli.Stanford.EDU>
To: pmcgraw at linfield.edu
Reply-To: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at csli.Stanford.EDU>
Message-ID: <199907221855.LAA22361 at Turing.Stanford.EDU>
re PERSONS, not PEOPLE...
forty years ago, when i worked as a reporter on the Reading
Eagle (in reading, pa.), the paper had a strict editorial
policy that the only correct plural of PERSON was PERSONS.
i learned to write according to this rule for the paper,
but the prescription had no effect on my english otherwise.
i recall being unsure as to whether the rule extended from
specific multitudes (TWENTY PERSONS) to indefinite ones
(?MANY PERSONS, ?HUNDREDS OF PERSONS), and i was not the
only perplexed staff member. we learned to avoid the issue
wherever possible (MANY LISTENERS, HUNDREDS OF RESIDENTS, etc.).
it was also the paper's rigid policy that the unmodified
descriptor CATHOLIC was not permitted. ROMAN CATHOLIC.
GREEK ORTHODOX. RUSSIAN ORTHODOX. but not just CATHOLIC.
the schism between rome and constantinople lived on in
the pages of the Reading Eagle.
arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)
--- End Forwarded Message ---
Peter A. McGraw
pmcgraw at linfield.edu
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