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(snip)

Otto Jesperson, the famed linguist who, I believe, is beloved of modern descriptivists

(long quotation from Jespersen snipped here)
I'm not sure what exactly he's implying here, but it doesn't seem very complimentary to the Hawaiians. He further goes ... time and gives a very acceptable account of English's history, etc, but that section really made me step in surprise.

I am unclear what the point is. If it is to cast nasturtiums at Jespersen, I being unfamiliar with the original works am not in a position to agree or disagree, but think it not relevant whether Jespersen is brilliant or awful: the point is that he said what he said about the lack of a neuter personal pronoun and he is a source to whom many, perhaps most, of those who favor the singular use of "they" give credence, whether with good cause or not being, as I say, immaterial. Or, if it is to suggest that Jespersen is not after all beloved of modern descriptivists, I miss the connection.
Also note that it's "Jespersen" with an "e" not an "o" at the end.

Absolutely. Haste makes waste. (When the wind is southerly, I can tell a Dane from a Swede.)
And I haven't forgotten about compiling the "The jug has water in it" results. Other things (including a delay in getting enough responses) has held me up.

I know the feeling all too well. I still hope to resume the Burchfield/Fowler discussion.
She says "None are here right now."
Grammatically correct, period. Adrian

"None" means "not one". How does that work with "are"? By the way, for a person who picks at commas all over the place, you didn't do a very good job of crafting a sentence in "Grammatically correct, period."
Jack
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She says "None are here right now."

Grammatically correct, period. Adrian

"None" means "not one". How does that work with "are"? By the way, for a person who picks at commas all over the place, you didn't do a very good job of crafting a sentence in "Grammatically correct, period." Jack

Stephen
Lennox Head, Australia
"None" means "not one". How does that work with "are"?

Not so very well, but that's because the transition period is not quite over. In the plural form, it roughly equates to "no two", "no few", "no several", "no fraction of many". That observation is from Wilson Follett, and a man more dedicated to the rule of order in English would be hard to find.
Consider "None of the commentators agree on the meaning of this passage." That is perfectly clear and sound English. But very, very obviously it is impossible to read that "none" as literally meaning "no one".
Were such a usage some new coinage, I'd be right at the front lines, firing away at it owing to its lack of logic. But at some point we have to shrug and say that a bad turn of style has become embedded, and that's that. The word "none" can no longer be taken as a contracted form of "no one" but has to be accepted as just a noise that has certain significances.
Wise and caring lovers of the tongue pick their battles with care. Not realizing when a form has reached the stage of being what Fowler called a "sturdy indefensible" is a hallmark of pedantry.

(As falsely believing that every neologism and solecism achieves instant status as a sturdy indefensible is a hallmark of folly.)
She says "None are here right now." "None" means "not ... job of crafting a sentence in "Grammatically correct, period." Jack

I seem to have hit send without making a comment.
Probably a good idea.

Stephen
Lennox Head, Australia
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(snip)

(long quotation from Jespersen snipped here) I am unclear what the point is. If it is to cast nasturtiums at ... Or, if it is to suggest that Jespersen is not after all beloved of modern descriptivists, I miss the connection.

My point was that because of some of the things he did write, and as with anyone he should not be held up as the Perfect Model of a Descriptivist with every word he ever wrote dripping with pure wisdom that should be lapped up without criticism. Your "beloved of modern descriptivists" is pushing too far towards the 'absolute worship' end of the Respect Spectrum, and the passage I quoted is one piece of evidence that his, as with anyone's, opinions are not beyond critical analysis.
In short, I think you could have written the paragraph without the rather loaded "beloved of modern descriptivists" and still kept the non-emotional part of it intact.
Or maybe I just wanted to show off that I'd read Jespersen's works. It's possibly a bit of both, since no one is devoid of ego.

johnF
"In fact, the belief that neurophysiology is even relevant to the functioning of the mind is just a hypothesis."
Language and Thought , Noam Chomsky (1993)
She says "None are here right now."

Grammatically correct, period. Adrian

"None" means "not one". How does that work with "are"?

Eric has answered that and more temperedly than I would have. I'd have said something like: "That's a ridiculous statement followed by an even more ridiculous question" and gone on from there. Another way of putting it is that the use of "none" followed by a plural verb is 100-percent idiomatic in contemporary English. The superstition that "none" can take only a singular verb is just that a superstition. Etc. etc.
By the way, for a person who picks at commas all over the place, you didn't do a very good job of crafting a sentence in "Grammatically correct, period."

I read that one over several times to see if I could interpret it as a joke. But I kept coming to the conclusion that it was meant seriously. I'm not going to get into a pointless argument over what is or is not a "sentence," since there is a wide variety of answers to that question. You can call what Eric wrote a sentence, or a sentence fragment, or anything else you please. Whatever, there is absolutely nothing wrong with "Grammatically correct, period" as Eric wrote it in the context where he placed it. Or do you also object to the likes of "Yes," "Whatever," "Thank you," "No kidding," "The salt, please," and "Who, me?"
Would you be happier if Eric had used a dash? "Grammatically correct period." Somehow I doubt it.

Bob Lieblich
Temporarily unable to come up with a clever sig comment
Would you be happier if Eric had used a dash? "Grammatically correct period." Somehow I doubt it.

Deep down, we are probably all slightly enamoured with Eric's charmingly Olde Worlde view of English, and it may well resonate with whatever idealistic remnant of humanity resides in the cold heart of the most ardent descriptivist, but it was Adrian Bailey who wrote the sentence under discussion.

johnF
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Would you be happier if Eric had used a dash? "Grammatically correct period." Somehow I doubt it.

Deep down, we are probably all slightly enamoured with Eric's charmingly Olde Worlde view of English, and it may well ... in the cold heart of the most ardent descriptivist, but it was Adrian Bailey who wrote the sentence under discussion.

And a very fine sentence (if that's what it is) it is.

Apologies to any and all offended by the misattribution.

Bob Lieblich
Much too well acquainted with Miss Attribution
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