how to say this?

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Aug 7 15:59:52 UTC 2009

from a questionnaire at a local restaurant:

   Including you, how many people are you dining with today?

the question is decidedly odd.  the expected answer in my case was 1
(i was dining alone), so i appeared to be saying that i was dining
with one person, or equivalently, that i was dining with myself.

but all answers are peculiar.  if i'm having dinner with a friend, one
friend, then i'm supposed to say that i'm dining with 2 people.

something like the following might work, without giving rise to
numerical anomalies:

   How many people are in your party at this meal?


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list