[Ads-l] prescriptivism problem

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 27 21:46:14 UTC 2019

It came to me just as I was leaving the house. Lewis to Tolkien; I think
the nickname was of a type often in use in Oxbridge:

*Distinguō, Tollers, distinguō!*

I always thought this was a specialized use of distinguō, normally
'distinguish, differentiate between', to mean 'disagree'; it may well be,
but Lewis & Short <
don't list it.

Collegis suis scripsit Marcus Mandelensis

On Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 12:52 PM Mark Mandel <mark.a.mandel at gmail.com wrote:

> Distinguō, Iacobē, distinguō!
> To me, both can refer to either present or future. But
> 1)  I am worried about his having an affair.
> means "I am worried about that fact or possibility", whereas
> 2)  I am worried about him having an affair.
> can be equivalent, but could also mean "I am worried about the effect an
> affair [of his] {could have/is having} on him."
> * Based on some classic quotation that, iirc, either Tolkien or Lewis used
> to the other.
> Mark Mandel
> On Sun, Jan 27, 2019 at 12:02 PM James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>
> wrote:
>> Prescriptivists hold that the noun or pronoun modified by a gerund is to
>> be in the possessive:
>>     "I like his doing the dishes" not "I like him doing the dishes".
>> Problem:  consider the following two sentences:
>> 1)  I am worried about his having an affair.
>> 2)  I am worried about him having an affair.
>> To me there is a difference in meaning between the two sentences, which
>> implies both are grammatical.
>> 1) sounds to me that "he" is currently having an affair.
>> 2) sounds to me that "he" is not currently having an affair but is likely
>> to do so in the future.
>> - Jim Landau

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

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