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Old 05-17-2006, 07:07 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Usage advice from 1940

This advice from Porter Perrin in 1940 may help explain how American English has diverged from British. It seems as if the English chose the opposite advice.
Give preference (1) to the more modern of two spellings of which both are supported by good usage, as “mold” rather than “mould”; (2) to American rather than British forms, as “traveler” rather than “traveller”; (3) to the simplest form that is accepted by those who use the word most, as “catalog” rather than “catalogue,” and even “sulfur” rather than spelling it “sulphur.”

— Quoted in an article in The Inland Printer, July 1940


   
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Last edited by ktinkel; 05-17-2006 at 12:06 PM. Reason: fix typos
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
This advice from Porter Perrin in 1940 may help explain how American English has diverged from British. It seems as if the English chose the opposite advice.
Sounds like sensible advice. But what are those numbers in brackets?

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback
Sounds like sensible advice. But what are those numbers in brackets?
In parentheses? That is the way he enumerated his points; I was quoting.

Maybe that was common way back then.

I found some other interesting snippets in that issue. May post some later.

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:22 AM   #4
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Today we would probably just use the closing paren. Which follows the rule of simplicity.
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by donmcc
Today we would probably just use the closing paren. Which follows the rule of simplicity.
Actually, that is an error. Parentheses must enclose something.

The right way to do it is use a number and period. Or don’t enumerate. Or use a list.

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:59 AM   #6
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KT:

even “sulfur” rather than spelling it “sulphur.”

I didn't know that that word was ever spelled 'sulphur' in the USA. The
spelling recommended by the Royal Chemical Society and IUPAC is 'sulfur', as the spelling with 'ph' was regarded years ago by the OED as bogus.

Who was Porter Perrin?

(And who started using this horrible colour?)

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
even “sulfur” rather than spelling it “sulphur.”

I didn't know that that word was ever spelled 'sulphur' in the USA. The
spelling recommended by the Royal Chemical Society and IUPAC is 'sulfur', as the spelling with 'ph' was regarded years ago by the OED as bogus.

Who was Porter Perrin?

(And who started using this horrible colour?)
Porter Perrin wrote a widely published and disseminated book on English usage. College students for generations and all over the country got the book, with or without Fowler as a companion.

Sulphur certainly was used here, though not recently. I have seen it in old books. And I used that color to mark a quote.

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
In parentheses? That is the way he enumerated his points; I was quoting.
I thought that at first but rejected that thought because it jumps from 1 to 3 - is there no point 2 then?

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback
I thought that at first but rejected that thought because it jumps from 1 to 3 - is there no point 2 then?
That, my dear, is a typo. And you, with your unerring eye, caught it.

And I shall fix it.

   
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Sulphur certainly was used here, though not recently. I have seen it in old books. And I used that color to mark a quote.
I learned how to spell it as 'sulphur'. I don't remember if I learned to spell it in school or first read it in a book. But if I didn't think about it I would automatically type "sulphuric acid". But then I would probably look at it, decide it looked odd, and change it. And I like this color.

   
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