Is it standard English? to disrespect, to partake in

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 30 00:41:01 UTC 2000

On Sat, 29 Apr 2000 Dfcoye at AOL.COM wrote:

> Among the words my students have at their disposal which I do not, are the
> verbs 'to disrespect' and 'to partake in', as in 'He is going to partake in
> the after-school activities this semester.'    I asked my class in History of
> the English Language how many could say this and find nothing odd about it,
> and about 90% said it was OK by them.   So the question is, has it crossed
> into standard English?  Would anyone dispute that 'to disrespect' has made it
> into the hallowed halls of acceptable speech?    I  decided a couple of years
> ago that the weight of numbers was against me on 'disrespect' and I don't
> comment on it any more, but 'to partake in' still just seems plain 'wrong' to
> me.  I still dutifully write 'partake of' and it refers only to food and
> drink... but I have a feeling the handwriting is on the wall...

When was "partake in" not standard English?  Oliver Goldsmith used it in
1771.  The OED gives no indication that it was ever not standard.

Fred R. Shapiro                             Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services     TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School                             Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro at               ISBN 0-19-509547-2

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