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[icon] Grammar rant - Patti
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Subject:Grammar rant
Time:02:00 pm
This morning, I heard someone on NPR say, "a phenomena." At work, our benefits coordinator just said, "a criteria."

Grrrr. Criteria is plural; the singular is criterion. Likewise phenomenon and phenomena are singular and plural. I'm hearing this from educated, otherwise well-spoken professionals.

Edit: I just spotted "toleration" in a blog. Much to my surprise, it shows up in the American Heritage Dictionary without a snarky usage note.
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violet_tigress1
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 10:43 pm (UTC)
I wonder what they teach in English classes in elementary school here...

Not very much, apparently. I have a cousin in high school, (she's a senior) who says her English teacher has horrible language skills.
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dmorr
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 10:21 pm (UTC)
I've never heard the phenomena/phenomenon error, but criteria meaning criterion is everywhere. I think it's a lost battle.
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violet_tigress1
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 10:39 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I heard anyone say "criterion, or "bacterium" more than a handful of times.
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rhiannonstone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 11:02 pm (UTC)
If I may put on my Descriptive Linguist hat here, "criteria" and "data" are used for both singulars and plurals so often that, outside of the scientific and Latin-scholar communities, they could be considered standard usage. ;) It may irk those of us who grok the etymology, but it's a losing battle; so many of the words and rules we recognize as "correct" these days are actually corruptions of the originals. Language has evolved throughout history and will continue to do so, it's just a bit awkward and strange to watch it happening.

Edited at 2008-01-09 11:03 pm (UTC)
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barts185
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 11:02 pm (UTC)
Taylor Mali on The The Impotence of Proofreading

I know you commented about things that were spoken, not written, while his bit is on written papers, but I really think this is a funny bit that anyone interested in the correctness of language should enjoy.



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brec
Subject:Re: Something else...
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-09 11:36 pm (UTC)
and the likes

Ahem.

Edited at 2008-01-09 11:36 pm (UTC)
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 12:09 am (UTC)
You've seen the American Heritage Dictionary usage rant^H^H^H^Hnote on irregardless? They've changed it between the third and fourth editions, but both are priceless.
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wordweaverlynn
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 12:15 am (UTC)
I've heard "criterias" from people who ought to know better.
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terrencechan
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 01:33 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say that you guys need to start working in an e-mail customer support capacity to experience true written butchery of the English language.

The most startling was how often residents of England would write *horribly* written e-mails.
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evwhore
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 09:00 am (UTC)
Just for you, Terrence:

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adbjupe
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 02:02 am (UTC)
Why rant about criteria and phenomena, if you can rant about is/are and do/does?

My english teacher spent an awfull lot of time telling us that it does matter much, not don't matter. There is many thanks to Michael Jackson going around from English teachers in foreign countries.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 09:03 am (UTC)
I don't hear much misuse of is/are and do/does in my day-to-day life, but that's because I tend to be surrounded with at least moderately well-educated people.
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andrewhime
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-01-10 04:45 pm (UTC)
It's these kind of things that lead to me challenging ODEAS and getting a free turn. :)
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[icon] Grammar rant - Patti
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