how to say this?

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Fri Aug 7 20:59:16 UTC 2009

On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:59 AM, Arnold Zwicky<zwicky at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      how to say this?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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?

"How many are in your party" is exactly where I was going. It matches
what they ask when you arrive, for one thing.

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