Monday, March 03, 2008

morphosyntactically singular

I have a post in the works, waiting to percolate from it's original context to this one, but in the meantime, I just came across this over at Language Log:

The entire linguistic and educational system built up by a nation of 300 million people cannot be in danger of being flushed down the toilet because of a commonplace, centuries-old practice of occasionally and optionally using of a plural-reference pronoun with a morphosyntactically singular quantified or indefinite-reference antecedent, can it?

Someone (in this case Geoffrey K. Pullum) had a lot of fun writing that sentence, knowing that somewhere lurked people who would have fun reading it. I did.

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