"As Well."

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri May 4 18:10:46 UTC 2007

On May 4, 2007, at 7:34 AM, i wrote:

> ... i didn't say that #2 was specifically canadian, only that it was
> apparently *standard* in canada...

it has just occurred to me  that part of the problem here might be my
(and Garner's) use of the technical term "standard" (as opposed to
"non-standard"); perhaps some readers understood the word in the
ordinary-language sense 'normal, usual, common'.

initial "as well" is used with some frequency in both the U.S. and
Canada, but in Canada it's used by good writers in serious contexts
(Garner's examples are from the Toronto Star, the Vancouver Sun, and
Maclean's), while in the U.S. it appears very rarely in such contexts
(as far as i can tell; no examples in the NYT during the past month,
anyway).  and i have had editors in the U.S. complain to me about the
usage, which they view as too colloquial for serious writing.  i
conclude that in the U.S. it's reasonably frequent (enough to catch
the attention of editors and teachers) but is judged by many not to
be formal standard written english.  the Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (p. 593) labels it as informal in style rather than


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list