[Ads-l] consensus and concensus and 100%?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 19 23:30:41 EST 2016

On Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 5:33 AM, Salikoko S. Mufwene <s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
> wrote:

> consensus of ... opinion

Whoa! This turn of phrase was *specifically* condemned as "ungrammatical,"
when I was in the first year of high school, 1950-51. Why? Because there is
only one kind of _consensus_: that of opinion. Therefore, to speak/write of
"consensus of opinion" is to speak/write of "consensus of opinion of
opinion," an awkward, nonsensical redundancy. There is still disagreement
between grammarians and writers to this very day.

Garner's Modern English Usage - Page 207
Bryan Garner - 2016 - ‎Preview
*consensus* = a majority opinion or a generally accepted view. Hence, two
common phrases, ✳consensus of opinion and ✳general consensus, are prolix.

GMAT Prep Course - Page 519
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1889057193Jeff Kolby - 2016 - ‎Preview
- ‎More editions
*Consensus of opinion Consensus of opinion* is redundant: consensus means “
general agreement.”

PERT Review! PostSecondary Readiness Test Study Guide andPractice ...
Complete Test Preparation Inc. - 2014
Consensus of opinion. Consensus means agreement over something that may be
or not be an opinion. So it may _look that_ using the phrase 'consensus of
opinion' is appropriate, but it is better to omit “opinion.” [BTW, note the
use of _look that_ as the "correction" of _look like_.]

OTOH, there are hundreds of thousands of occurrences of "consensus of
opinion" to be found in GBooks. Indeed, I myself regarded _consensus of
opinion_ as an idiomatic fixed phrase, until I got into high school. It
took some effort to learn to use simply _consensus_ on English exams.

There exists a prediction of which only a snippet view is available:

Word and Phrase: True and False Use in English - Pages 286-287

Joseph Fitzgerald - 1901 - ‎Snippet view
As consensus was introduced to take the place of consent in the original
meaning of that word, it denotes agreement in thought, opinion, or feeling;
Consensus of opinion is therefore equivalent to Agreement-in-thought of
opinion. Very often ... desideratum;

_but, unless [consensus] is held fast to the precise meaning that it had
for whatever scholar first brought it in, it will soon have a place in the
language only as a component part of the faulty phrase, "consensus of

Well, did Joseph Fitzgerald, A.M. - "the author was for some years
assistant editor of the North American Review and of the Forum" - call it
or did he call it?

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

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