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Pluperfect tense
Posted: 16 June 2017 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve noticed a lot of ‘if Hillary won’ sentences, and idly wondered if the pluperfect is dying. Superficial googling would seem to confirm that the simple past is being used fairly often for the pluperfect, particularly by Americans, and that this is generally considered to be on the increase. Is this true?

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Posted: 16 June 2017 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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kurwamac - 16 June 2017 07:17 AM

I’ve noticed a lot of ‘if Hillary won’ sentences, and idly wondered if the pluperfect is dying. Superficial googling would seem to confirm that the simple past is being used fairly often for the pluperfect, particularly by Americans, and that this is generally considered to be on the increase. Is this true?

It is commonly known as the past perfect, and I agree fewer people use it, or perhaps do not use it correctly; therefore, they eschew it along with “whom’.

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Posted: 17 June 2017 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Also, be careful in ascribing trends. With the internet and the elimination of copy editors at professional publications, we’re seeing a lot more unedited prose than we have in the past. The use of the simple past in lieu of the past perfect may have always been there, but you didn’t notice because professionally edited texts did not use it that way.

I also note that inconsistent use of tenses is one of the two most common errors my composition students make. (The other is choosing the wrong preposition.)

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Posted: 17 June 2017 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That seems connected to my personal bugaboo, contrary-to-fact “may have” (which I’m sure I’ve groused about here before).  To me, “He may have caught the ball” unambiguously means “He may or may not have, I have no way of knowing”; these days, it’s pretty much universally used to mean what I would express as “He might have caught the ball [if things had been different].” It always takes me a minute to adjust when I hear “may have” used that way, and I always grumble about it (to myself if my wife is lucky enough not to be in the room).

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Posted: 18 June 2017 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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my personal bugaboo, contrary-to-fact “may have”

Mine too!

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Posted: 20 June 2017 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave Wilton - 17 June 2017 03:28 AM

Also, be careful in ascribing trends. With the internet and the elimination of copy editors at professional publications, we’re seeing a lot more unedited prose than we have in the past. The use of the simple past in lieu of the past perfect may have always been there, but you didn’t notice because professionally edited texts did not use it that way.

I’ve been seeing it in online publications such as the Huffington Post, which I assume are edited to some extent.

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Posted: 20 June 2017 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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kurwamac - 20 June 2017 03:07 AM

I’ve been seeing it in online publications such as the Huffington Post, which I assume are edited to some extent.

I wouldn’t assume that. At best, they probably get a quick once over by someone who is not especially trained in editing for obvious spelling errors or to make sure that no paragraphs have been omitted. There are probably checks for things that are potentially libelous, but that’s not copy editing.

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Posted: 20 June 2017 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There are a far too many errors on web news sites these days. The only good solution is hiring a proofreader. Even a reread of one’s own work can correct many errors, but they don’t even appear to do that.

I was lucky to have worked in the era of good proofreaders. They were worth gold to me.

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Posted: 20 June 2017 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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On web news sites?  Try everywhere.  Even university press books are full of typos, and they don’t even care.  As for local newspapers, I have before me a headline from our local paper, the Hampshire Gazette, reading ”Los Angles a likely host in ‘24 or ‘28.” [Makes me] sic.

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Posted: 20 June 2017 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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And I see I made an error in my last post ("There are (a) far to many...") with my Dupuytren’s Contracture left little finger (happens all the time). It adds an “a” or “z” now and then that I normally catch, but did not this time. The finger bends at a 90 degree angle and makes it very hard to type fast. It is impossible not to make typos now and then, unless you are a machine.

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Posted: 20 June 2017 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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languagehat - 20 June 2017 02:05 PM

On web news sites?  Try everywhere.  Even university press books are full of typos, and they don’t even care.  As for local newspapers, I have before me a headline from our local paper, the Hampshire Gazette, reading ”Los Angles a likely host in ‘24 or ‘28.” [Makes me] sic.

Typographical errors are undoubtedly more prevalent today than they were years ago, but they never were an anomaly even years ago.

What irks me more are misused words. Below is a review of a Woody Allen film. It was written by a Times Staff Writer.

He sounds less defiant than resigned. Of all the major American artists, Allen has experienced one of the cruelest and most violent whipsaws of fortune, of tumbling from audience adulation to mass approbation.

Obviously the woman who wrote the article was not familiar with the word, approbation, because she used it in its opposite sense. Approbation means, approval, praise, commendation. She used it to mean disapproval, disfavor.

I was quite surprised that she was immediately rebuked by a reader. Not many people would have caught the error.

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Posted: 21 June 2017 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Typographical errors are undoubtedly more prevalent today than they were years ago, but they never were an anomaly even years ago.

Yes they were (in printed books), unless you mean something nonstandard by “anomaly.” I’m an omnivorous reader and I’ve been noticing typos for over half a century, and I can tell you they’ve gotten very much more common; this isn’t recency illusion.

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Posted: 21 June 2017 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Logophile - 20 June 2017 10:18 PM

What irks me more are misused words. Below is a review of a Woody Allen film. It was written by a Times Staff Writer.

He sounds less defiant than resigned. Of all the major American artists, Allen has experienced one of the cruelest and most violent whipsaws of fortune, of tumbling from audience adulation to mass approbation.

Do you have a cite for this? I can’t seem to find it.

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Posted: 21 June 2017 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Do you have a cite for this? I can’t seem to find it.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/10/entertainment/ca-woody10

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Posted: 21 June 2017 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yes they were (in printed books), unless you mean something nonstandard by “anomaly.” I’m an omnivorous reader and I’ve been noticing typos for over half a century, and I can tell you they’ve gotten very much more common; this isn’t recency illusion.

And not only in printed material.

http://www.rd.com/culture/typo-lincoln-memorial/

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Posted: 21 June 2017 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The “approbation” thing reminds me of the time a member of forum on the old site (now yuku) went off on me after I characterized another member’s posting as “an astute guess”. It was never made explicit, but I think the incensed member thought “astute” was a term of denigration.

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