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Then I guess I lack even the ... are wearing hats to the costume party" sounds even better.)

Just for shits and giggles, if we consider the "is" example, wouldn't we have to write "A number of men is wearing a hat this season"? I mean, a singular entity would not wear more than one hat, would it? I'll go now.

Stick around a little longer, Alec. I look at this as a "problem" with the article. We wouldn't have any trouble if it were "the number of men.." When "a" is used, the indefinite nature of the article makes it natural to think, at least subconsciously, that more than one option exists. The problem is likely subconscious and unlikely to be solved here. We can always blame our mothers.

So how was your childhood?
There is, however, a term for swinging normally and unintentionally dribbling the ball (): "swinging bunt". It is often, though fortuitous, as or more successful than an ordinary bunt

"As ... successful than ... "?
I know, you were in a hurry.
And perhaps reading so much of the illiterate descriptivist writing around here has desensitized your ear for language.

Bob Lieblich
Even Homer Simpson nodded
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
"Carmen L. Abruzzi" (Email Removed) wrote on 25 Nov 2003:
Yes, I can hardly include an entire introductory linguistics course in one usenet posting.

That is hardly necessary to explain a single sentence. You seem to like hyperbole as much as I do.
1. "what is used and understood by native speakers as" ... "what" in that sentence before that "what" is considered grammatical?

An interesting question, and not one that has a definitive answer I should think. I would guess that it would ... grammar. This is a problem much bigger than just English, of course, and it ties in with the language extinction.

So since we're talking about English and not about other languages, we probably need to change "language extinction" to "dialect death".
2. "unremarkable examples of English" = Problem: How many native ... like "I don't got none" before the unremarkable becomes remarkable?

Ah, in Standard English. I was not talking specifically about Standard English, but about grammaticality in general. I guess that's one of the definitions I omitted.

A major omission. Eric seems to consider Standard English the only "sound" English. I don't. I consider it the only dialect of English that counts for tests like the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, and TOEIC. And the only one that counts for the important style manuals in the major national varieties (dialects) of Standard English.
3. "(barring any formal teaching of English usage)" = Problem: ... is its intent? What does it exclude? Formal English usage?

Because such teaching often puts into the heads of speakers that their natural speech is ungrammatical.

But it just might be ungrammatical when judged by what is considered grammatical in Standard English. But grammaticality is not to me the major issue. For example, just yesterday I had to remind all the students in three of my speech classes not to end their speeches with "Thank you for your listening" but with "Thank you for listening" or "Thank you for your attention". I didn't tell them that what they were saying was ungrammatical; I said that it was not idiomatic Standard English. I think it is grammatical, but I think that very few, if any, native English speakers say "Thank you for your listening" at the end of a speech.
4. "must necessarily be grammatical" = Problem: What do you ... in informal, very informal, and just plain uneducated English registers"?

I mean "grammatical" in the scientific sense.

Ah, yes. Every native speaker of English has a perfect knowledge of the grammar of his language. So you mean grammatical in the sense that it is "grammatical in one dialect of English or another".
I do not mean grammatical in a prescriptive sense.

And the prescriptive sense means "grammatical in Standard English".

But these two senses of grammaticality are not mutually exclusive. It's just that one includes the other and so the other is extremely restrictive because it includes only one dialect.
5. How do you avoid the obvious charge that such ... so inclusive, and so diversity-biased as to be without meaning?

There are an almost infinite number of potentially grammatical utterances that are excluded in this view of grammaticality. As I said above "I am knowing him for many years" is not grammatical since no native speaker says such a thing.

It has been my experience that native speakers of Indian English say such things all the time.
Neither would "None don't got I", although it's trivial to come up with grammatical rules by which it would mean the same as "I don't got none".

Which merely demonstrates that grammatical rules can be as convincingly nonsensical as Ptolemy's rules for the behavior of the heavenly bodies as they travel through space in a geocentric universe.
Well, now, that is a most delightful and illuminating analogy. ... English usage, or is that taught about formal English usage?

Exactly.

As I've said before in this forum, that is what what many highly educated BEV speakers do when they get together at parties: they speak in two dialects. But not everyone is so blessed. Some even many native speakers of English are monoglossic and speak only one dialect.
Telling Eric that "I don't got none" is grammatical and ... and write in a variety of registers without any problem.

Wherever do you get this notion that I was telling Eric that it's OK for him to use it? He doesn't need me to tell him how he can speak.

Just a misinterpretation. I apologize for that.
I must infer from this that you think that labelling something "grammatical" means that it should be used by all speakers. This it the prescriptive definition of "grammatical"; I do not use the word in that sense. Apologies for not making that clear.

No, There are lots of grammatical expressions idioms that I never use, some because I don't know them and others because I find them ludicrous. And, as I have also said many times here, grammatical English is not necessarily good English. And ungrammatical (in Standard English) is not necessarily bad English: "Tar baby, he don't say nothin'."
It offends my sensibilities to even think about considering that sentence grammatical outside one or two specific dialects.

Does it offend your sensibilities to think about considering "Je n'avais rien" grammatical outside of French?

It's grammatical French but not grammatical English. But we're not talking about French.
NOTE: (1) Let's leave BEV/AAEV out of this discussion, because ... demonstration of the grammaticality of that sentence in Standard BEV/AAEV.

Do you think that BEV and non-BEV speakers use such sentences for different reasons?

No, but bringing BEV into any discussion that is not specifically about BEV makes the discussion too political.
That non-BEV speakers are doing it to deliberately flaunt the rules of Standard English?

That's an absurd idea.
Yes, I can hardly include an entire introductory linguistics course in one usenet posting.

Exactly! It's not like we're talking about Sociology!

Opus the Penguin (that's my real email addy)
"Ah well, 10 years posting to usenet and I've never been sigged. Why start now?" - Mike Brandt
Oy!

I was deliberately flouting the rules.

You were just touting him, eh?

Opus the Penguin (that's my real email addy)
"Ah well, 10 years posting to usenet and I've never been sigged. Why start now?" - Mike Brandt
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Yes, I can hardly include an entire introductory linguistics course in one usenet posting.

That is hardly necessary to explain a single sentence. You seem to like hyperbole as much as I do.

Whereas *I* like it about a billion times more than both of you put together!

Opus the Penguin (that's my real email addy)
"I'm pretty sure that both of those statements are several different kinds of wrong." - Huey Callison
Then I guess I lack even the least beginnings of an ear for sound English, because "A number of men are wearing hats this season" sounds fine to me.

I'll go you one better. "What about the men? A number are wearing hats this season" sound just fine as well.
("A number of men are wearing hats to the costume party" sounds even better.)

But "A number of men are wearing hats with pink feathers and forming a chorus line" sounds a little odd.

Opus the Penguin (that's my real email addy)
"Any question that begins with "Why do my cats..." is rhetorical." - Jerry Randal Bauer
There is, however, a term for swinging normally and unintentionally ... though fortuitous, as or more successful than an ordinary bunt

"As ... successful than ... "? I know, you were in a hurry.

More likely, the infamous swapping of horses midstream.

Cordially,
Eric Walker
My opinions on English are available at
http://owlcroft.com/english /
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
The base noun is "candidates," and "a total of six" modifies it. This is consistent with the use of the plural verb.

But it is not consistent with "of" being a preposition, which is, I believe, its only employment these days. A preposition links things in a way that shows their relation, and requires a noun of pronoun for its object. The phrase here is "of six candidates", with the "of" linking "six candidates" to "total". ("Six" being an adjective, it has nothing to modify save "candidates", nor can it serve as object of the preposition.)
I think anyone taken with the idea of assaulting this ... on that one: it simply and obviously is .

I do believe I detect symptoms of prescriptivism, nurse. I just offered an alternative analysis. Aside from not being yours, what's wrong with it?

I just explained (and I believe that part was elided from the quotation of the original): "of six candidates" is a prepositional phrase acting adverbially on "total". The words "total of six" are not a grammatical unit. That is the "wall" that was referenced.
If we assume, as I do, that that is so, ... want to suggest that "of" is not a preposition there?

Of course not; its object is "six." Not "six candidates." "Six."

Since when are adjectives able to be the objects of prepositions? "Six" can only be a noun in certain restricted and almost artificial contexts referring to the numeral itself; else, even if, as is common, the noun be elided (which in any event it is not here), *it is an adjective.*
All the discussion that followed is immaterial: either one concedes the point, inescapable I think, that "six" is an adjective, which mandates that "of six candidates" be the prepositional phrase, which in turn mandates that it is modifying "total", or we enter a Brave New World of English in which words become new and different parts of speech at whim to satisfy every man's desires.

Cordially,
Eric Walker
My opinions on English are available at
http://owlcroft.com/english /
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