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What is acceptable in one context may be unacceptable in another and what is good usage for one generation may well be archaic for the next. Many Americanisms are frowned upon in the United Kingdom and even some Americans consider U.S. English inferior to British English ─ why, I don’t know.
Since there is no Language Academy to control English language usage, who is to say what is correct? I am all for greater acceptability. Beware the man or woman who has the ultimate truth on grammatical or lexical accuracy. There have been instances at university level where a native lecturer of English has rated a translation paper written by another native teacher of English as average.

If you wish, give your opinion on the following items. Are they acceptable or not? I have received answers from native experts to these questions before, a long time ago. They didn’t agree on a single one!

1. Susan is a girl eleven years old.

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner?

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion…

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman.

5. I am older than him.

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast.

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him.

8. The average American likes his coffee hot.

9. What’s the situation weatherwise?

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more.
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Comments  
Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

I certainly support your advocacy for greater acceptability. Some people can undoubtedly be very prescriptive. Interestingly, it's not just some native English speakers but also some learners who are inclined in this direction, in my experience.

As you note, 'what is acceptable in one context may be unacceptable in another', so it's hard to comment on your examples without a context. However, here are some brief and, of course, subjective comments.

1. Susan is a girl eleven years old. OK

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner? Sounds archaic

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion… 'Who' seems wrong

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman. 'Fine' by me, not 'politically correct' today to some people.

5. I am older than him. OK

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast. A split infinitive is OK to me, but a bit ugly in this case

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him. Sounds American

8. The average American likes his coffee hot. OK

9. What’s the situation weatherwise? OK, but informal and, to me, a structure that can be abused by lazy speakers.

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more. OK

Best wishes, Clive
Cool Breeze
1. Susan is a girl eleven years old. I'd prefer Susan is an eleven-year-old gir.

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner? I agree with Clive - sounds archaic.

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion… As Clive says, who is odd. I'd use which

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman. I don't think we can blame changes in "grammar" for this change in usage. This can be chair, chairperson, or chairwoman.

5. I am older than him. Ack. I'm one of the people who still thinks this should be "than he is."

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast. I agree with Clive. Okay, but awkward. She always used to...

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him. Okay, so I'm an American. What's wrong with this? If the intention was simple past, it could be written otherwise, but it depends on what you wanted to say, doesn't it?

8. The average American likes his coffee hot. The sexism thing again? This is fine.

9. What’s the situation weatherwise? Casual, but fine for conversation

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more. Fine.

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Hello Cool Breeze

1. Susan is a girl eleven years old.] Ok, but a little unusual: it might turn up in an emphatic context.

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner? ] Ok, but a little stiff. It sounds as if the speaker is uncomfortable with "Did they use to take..."

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion… ] If the referent of "who" is "Italy", ok only if the speaker intends to be particularly flowery (i.e. by treating a country as a person).

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman. ] Ok.

5. I am older than him. ] Ok.

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast. ] Ok; but some readers will object to the split infinitive. On the whole, it's better to avoid drawing your readers' attention to your grammar.

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him. ] I thought that "gotten" was mostly used in the sense of "become", in AmE; but I may be wrong.

8. The average American likes his coffee hot. ] Ok.

9. What’s the situation weatherwise? ] Ok; though I would put a comma after "situation".

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more. ] Ok.

By the way, if you could avoid pasting text from other applications into a post, it would be much appreciated. The "list" codes make it difficult for some users to reply to your post, as the formatting goes awry.

MrP
Hi Cool Breeze

Oooh, a quiz! Now who could resist that?

1.Susan is a girl eleven years old.
Funky but OK. If there was a comma after girl, that might make it look better. The "eleven-years old" is an adverbial phrase so can wander around the sentence at will ("Susan, eleven-years old, is a girl"

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner?
Again, odd but acceptable in principle. It positively cries out to be reworded.

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion…
No. I'd go for "which" because I consider "Italy" as an inanimate entity. Of course, a more poetic mind might want to talk about "Italy" as an incarnation of a woman, in which case "which" could be OK.

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman.
OK. We can quibble about whether "chair" or "chairperson" is PC, but I wouldn't bother.

5. I am older than him.
OK. I'd also be Ok with a more formal "...older than he."

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast.
OK... To boldly spilt infinitives that no man has split before.

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him.
After ten years in the US, I've gotten used to it.

8. The average American likes his coffee hot.
OK. See answer to 4 for my PC/non-PC take.

9. What’s the situation weatherwise?
Ugly, but a perfectly legitimate use of a suffix - even if the perpetrator should be strung up by the gerunds.

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more.
OK.

Phew! Now is there a list of "right and wrongs" we can check against? Emotion: wink

Cool stuff, Cool Breeze.

Siggy
Siggy9. What’s the situation weatherwise?
Ugly, but a perfectly legitimate use of a suffix - even if the perpetrator should be strung up by the gerunds.

Siggy

Be careful, Siggy! Punsters should be drawn and quoted.
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Siggy5. I am older than him.
OK. I'd also be Ok with a more formal "...older than he."
In fact, I'd prefer it. Whenever I'm accused of being "stuffy" in my speech, I simply explain myself. Here I would say, " 'he' sounds a lot better than 'I am older than him is' ". Without a basic grammar lesson, that seems to do the job, at least for the moment.
I'd like to thank all those who gave their answers. I don't think there are right or wrong answers - and it certainly isn't for me to say what is acceptable and what isn't. For those who are interested in a nonnative speaker's comments, I'll provide some.

1. Susan is a girl eleven years old. Acceptable, and not even rare. There are countless similar examples in English and American literature. It can be interpreted as a sentence consisting of a main clause and a relative clause with the relative pronoun and is omitted: Susan is a girl (who is) eleven years old. Who is the subject and the subject is not very often left out in a relative clause - but it does happen now and then: There's somebody at the door (who) wants to see you.

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner? Acceptable but sounds archaic. The Collins Dictionary says it is possible to say They didn't use/used to take a walk after dinner, which must astonish all foreign students who are not versed in the peculiarities of English grammar. You definitely can't say He didn't went for a walk, can you?

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion… Although Italian fashion designers are people, Italy is not. So I would prefer which.

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman. Acceptable.

5. I am older than him. Acceptable.

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast. Acceptable.

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him. Acceptable.

8. The average American likes his coffee hot. Acceptable. The majority of Americans are women, though. That makes me wonder how the average American can be a man? Emotion: smile Perhaps the assessment is based on weight...

9. What’s the situation weatherwise? Colloquial, perhaps more American than British, but all right.

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more. In the USA, practice is never spelled practise. Acceptable.
1. Susan is a girl eleven years old. Sounds fine in a narrative style, or perhaps for a voice over in a documentary, but not natural in everyday speech

2. Used they to take a walk after dinner? Definitely not standard modern English.

3. Italy, who has been in the forefront of fashion…I think the problem with this is the verb, not the relative pronoun; what is meant is the Italians, rather than the country itself. Italy who have... sounds fine.

4. Mrs Robinson will be nominated chairman. Not so much a grammar point. I would personally use chair or chairwoman.

5. I am older than him. This is almost standard now, though I would avoid it in a formal style

6. She used to always read the paper after breakfast. I do not believe that you should not split infinitives, but this does not sound natural.

7. I’ve gotten a letter from him. Perfectly acceptable American English.

8. The average American likes his coffee hot. A tricky one. I would tend to write Most Americans like their coffee hot or even The average American likes their coffee hot, though I know a lot of people do not like that. His or her sounds contrived, but sometimes you have to use it

9. What’s the situation weatherwise? Sounds fine for informal speech.

10. You’ll have to practice it a lot more. Definitely a spelling mistake in the UK, but not in the US.
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