7. Prescriptive rules

Texts / style guides

-- Merriam Webster (on reserve: PE 1460 .M45 1994)
-- Cambridge Guide to English Usage (on reserve: PE 1464 .P48 2004)
-- American Heritage (online)
-- Fowler (online)
-- Garner (on reserve: PE 2827 .G37x 2003)

SAMPLE SNIPPETS

Note: limiting by genre

Outcome

Pick a prescriptive rule and then comment on how well it describes phenomena from the past two hundred years of American English. Some sample topics are the following, but there are many more in the usage guides. You're more than welcome to choose another topic, as long as you clear it with me first (and please do this before the night before it's due :-).

For the phenomenon you've chosen, look at:

1. COHA
2. COCA (genre variation)
3. COCA/BNC (dialectal variation)
4. GLoWbE (dialecal variation)

  1. who/whom
  2. can/may
  3. will/shall
  4. further/farther
  5. different than/from
  6. among / between
  7. multiple negation (isn't no way)
  8. preposition stranding (someone to talk with)
  9. it's me/I, between him and me/I, me and Bill / Bill and I, than I / me
  10. hopefully, (sentence initial)
  11. real / really ADJ
  12. relative pronoun (N that/which V)
  13. majority SG / PL
  14. each/none of NN [ SG/PL ]
  15. try and V
  16. subjunctive (if I was able...)

Tons of lexical issues, e.g.

  1. lie / lay
  2. affect / effect
  3. founder / flounder
  4. regardless / irregardless