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  #51  
Old 05-16-2019, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky812 View Post
This is a common mistaken usage of "whom" when "who" is correct.


"I had help from many people who I wish to thank" or rephrase it "I had help from many people who I'd like to thank"

In this case, "that" would be incorrect as you are referring to people not an object.
You are Post #50 in a thread in which several people have already posted explanations of why "whom" is correct here. If you're going to disagree with them, you need to explain what's wrong with their explanations.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:44 AM
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Actually, on further review... either are correct depending on usage.

In formal or written situations, "whom" is the correct pronoun to use because it appears in the object position of the verb ‘thank’ in the restrictive relative clause. "...whom I wish to thank"

In spoken english, most people often use "who" or drop the relative pronoun completely.

"I had help from many people who I wish to thank"
"I had help from many people I wish to thank"

So... if this is in a formal letter use "whom", otherwise, in a speech or casual conversation "who" is just as acceptable and way less pretentious.

...and "that" is still wrong.

Last edited by Sparky812; 05-16-2019 at 08:45 AM.
  #53  
Old 05-16-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
It seems that your cite undermines your argument. The cite talks strictly about written English in terms of grammatical structure. It does not mention spoken English at all, nor draw a parallel between a comma and a pause in speech.
Yes, the comparison is bewildering:

Quote:
"A brief pause in oral speech is exactly equivalent to the separation of ideas denoted by a comma in writing."
is not even close in meaning to

Quote:
"A comma marks a slight break between different parts of a sentence. Used properly, commas make the meaning of sentences clear by grouping and separating words, phrases, and clauses".
much less "virtually the same thing."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
My rule of thumb: If I can convert the phrase to something like "I wish to thank him, then whom is correct. Both end in M!

This is wrong on so many levels, but I still use it. ;-D
This works if "who/whom" is being used as a simple pronoun by itself, but it doesn't work if it is the subject or object in a subordinate clause.
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  #54  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Yes, the comparison is bewildering:
It's only bewildering if you failed to read my response.
  #55  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I went to the store and bought a pear.

Vs

I went to the store, and I bought a pear.

Do you say those sentences differently? One requires a comma by most style guides. The other one does not (and adding a comma to that one, even if there is a slight pause in speech, is generally regarded as incorrect.) Either sentence can be said with a pause or without one, but theres only one way most style guides require you to use the comma. Those examples are ones where I find following your ear to be particularly problematic in determining comma usage, and those are very common structures.
We're in subjective territory again, but a few comments.

I don't know if it was intentional, but those two sentences are not the same. The second one ends in an independent clause due to the addition of a subject there. In that case a comma separating the two independent clauses is good practice. And, unless I was in a hurry, if I was focused on speaking correctly I would indeed be inclined to say the second one with a slight pause between the two parts for exactly the same reason, and so would Amazon Polly. I would not pause in the first one, nor would a comma there be appropriate.

Of course, many people wouldn't enunciate a pause in either one, and especially not in common everyday speech when we tend to run our words together and even slur them. Yet those same people might affect a different prosidy when speaking more formally, such as when giving a formal speech, or as in my reference to Walter Cronkite's narration. So what should we make of this? Let me propose an explanation.

I think the fundamental argument here is not that the comma has mysterious multiple functions. Why complicate things when the simplest explanation will do: the comma has only one function: the separation of words, phrases, clauses, and ideas. The equivalent in oral speech is the weak pause, but in the rush of everyday speech we often neglect to do this because it usually doesn't affect the meaning. But notice that when there is ambiguity ("the college accepted Fred, and Bill and John got turned down") we are more careful to respect the prosidic implication of the comma. Likewise we tend to respect this role more in formal than in informal speech, but the poor hardworking comma is doing the same old job in all these cases. When commas appear in writing where there is no apparent prosidic correspondence in speech, or is apparent only in formal speech, It's only because writing is the most formal form of communication of all.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:43 PM
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Yes, the sentences were not supposed to be identical. That was the main point, that including the subject requires you to use a comma, and not including the subject requires you to omit the comma, according to style guides, even though, when spoken, they may both be said with or without a pause. It’s the most common punctuation error I remember having to correct back when I copy edited, and it’s because writers were relying on their ears to punctuate, rather than the style book reasons for including or omitting the comma.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-16-2019 at 01:46 PM.
  #57  
Old 05-16-2019, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
The equivalent in oral speech is the weak pause, but in the rush of everyday speech we often neglect to do this because it usually doesn't affect the meaning.
I think you have it backward here.

Do you actually think that people walk around with scripts for everything they say, and then "forget" to pause at the commas in their script because they're being "sloppy" or "neglectful"? That's exactly what the quotation above implies.

Maybe you're a newscaster or actor, so you see it this way, but the vast majority (over 90%, I'm sure) of human speech is unscripted. When people are talking, there isn't some comma in their head that they're ignoring. Nor is there some kind of command to pause at these places. They don't pause because it's not part of natural speech.

The comma after the sentence-initial dependent clause is not "subjective" or optional: it's a (grammatically based) convention that appears in every style guide or grammar. Same thing with those sentence-initial prepositional phrases. When people forget to put them in (and I agree that happens a lot) they get corrected by copy editors and English teachers.

And these are not rare occurrences. Just open up any newspaper. Likewise, when we talk, we use these forms quite a lot. The fact is that, when people are speaking these phrases and clauses, they very often don't pause at these points, and it's not because they're being "sloppy." It's because those commas are there purely as written conventions that have no bearing on the way that natural English speech has evolved.

I can understand that you would like the comma to be more consistent, and it seems to have something to do with Amazon Polly, which is a wonderful technology--I agree. But that doesn't change these two long-time characteristics of English writing convention and English speech.

Last edited by guizot; 05-16-2019 at 01:52 PM.
  #58  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post
I think you have it backward here.

Do you actually think that people walk around with scripts for everything they say, and then "forget" to pause at the commas in their script because they're being "sloppy" or "neglectful"? That's exactly what the quotation above implies.

Maybe you're a newscaster or actor, so you see it this way, but the vast majority (over 90%, I'm sure) of human speech is unscripted. When people are talking, there isn't some comma in their head that they're ignoring. Nor is there some kind of command to pause at these places. They don't pause because it's not part of natural speech.

The comma after the sentence-initial dependent clause is not "subjective" or optional: it's a (grammatically based) convention that appears in every style guide or grammar. Same thing with those sentence-initial prepositional phrases. When people forget to put them in (and I agree that happens a lot) they get corrected by copy editors and English teachers.

And these are not rare occurrences. Just open up any newspaper. Likewise, when we talk, we use these forms quite a lot. The fact is that, when people are speaking these phrases and clauses, they very often don't pause at these points, and it's not because they're being "sloppy." It's because those commas are there purely as written conventions that have no bearing on the way that natural English speech has evolved.

I can understand that you would like the comma to be more consistent, and it seems to have something to do with Amazon Polly, which is a wonderful technology--I agree. But that doesn't change these two long-time characteristics of English writing convention and English speech.
I don't think I was clear in my last post. I'm not sure that we're really disagreeing on all that much, and perhaps I can wrap this up with a final comment. I don't have it backwards because that's not actually what I was saying. I wasn't trying to imply that we speak from scripts in our heads. That impression may have come from the fact that in this thread we were discussing various written examples and how they would be spoken.

But ultimately I think we can agree that the spoken form of language is primary, and written language strives to capture it. Written language necessarily introduces its own formalisms, like punctuation. The point I've been trying to make is that much of it serves the same purposes of linguistic clarity as the phonology of the spoken language, like intonation, rhythm, and the closely related concepts of pauses and chunking of word groups. Punctuation isn't there for decoration.

And pauses and chunking in speech are frequently represented in the written language by the humble comma, or sometimes other punctuation. If there doesn't seem to be a consistent correspondence between punctuation and prosody, it's usually just because of stylistic choices we make in the evolution of how we speak or how we write, and probably both. With regard to your remark that "they don't pause because it's not part of natural speech", note again the example I gave previously: "the college accepted Fred, and Bill and John got turned down". When faced with a potential ambiguity, we resolve it through a combination of pausing and changes in stress and other elements, and these things occur precisely at the point that the comma appears in the written form. Where no ambiguity exists, we make stylistic choices instead, sometimes determined by the register in which we are speaking.

Oh, and the reason that Amazon Polly came up is because it's one of the world's leading text to speech systems, and I found the choices that the linguists and engineers made when they built it, particularly the comma pause, to be instructive about their view of the relationship between written and spoken language.
  #59  
Old 05-18-2019, 01:25 PM
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Thanks! I see the logic now.
  #60  
Old 05-24-2019, 06:01 AM
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If we're discussing style, I personally would elide the relative pronoun entirely, and just say "...people I wish to thank." It fits my normal speech style better. Though I might also simplify it to "...people. I wish to thank [start of list]".
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  #61  
Old 05-24-2019, 06:17 AM
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While commas do not necessarily correspond with pauses, I tend to hear this much more often the other direction, where people will pause in a place a comma would be nonstandard. When going the other direction, the commas usually disappear over time. Styles which require more commas seem older than ones that allow then to disappear along with speech.
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  #62  
Old 05-24-2019, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
How should this sentence read? Please correct, if needed: "I had help from many people whom I wish to thank."
Two Options:

"I had help from many people whom I wish to thank."
"I had help from many people I wish to thank."
  #63  
Old 05-26-2019, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
PS - Media and data are both plural nouns...
Is this a joke? I thought data was a mass noun, like water.
  #64  
Old 05-26-2019, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DemonTree View Post
Is this a joke? I thought data was a mass noun, like water.
Medium - media
Datum - data

Its iruginally a plural count noun. Its current status is ambiguous.
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  #65  
Old 05-26-2019, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Medium - media
Datum - data

Its iruginally a plural count noun. Its current status is ambiguous.
If I saw someone write 'two data' instead of 'two pieces of data', I'd assume they weren't a native speaker... Don't see how it can be ambiguous, whatever it meant originally.
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DemonTree View Post
If I saw someone write 'two data' instead of 'two pieces of data', I'd assume they weren't a native speaker... Don't see how it can be ambiguous, whatever it meant originally.
How about, "ED50 and WGS84 are two [geodetic] data which differ by a few hundred meters in Europe" ?

No pieces involved.
  #67  
Old 05-26-2019, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Medium - media
Datum - data

Its iruginally a plural count noun. Its current status is ambiguous.
Yes--from copora of current NA English (written, spoken, formal, informal, academic, fiction, etc.), the word data is construed as plural about 2/3 of the time, and singular about 1/3 of the time. The plural usage is concentrated in academic print, while the singular usage is concentrated in speech, as well as magazines and newspapers, (which at times are quotations of speech), though not exclusively.

Just as an example, here is a quote from Scientific American, May 3, 2017, in which data is construed as singular:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SA
Data through Feb. 26 -- the last date for which data is available -- show there were 6,045 record highs to only 112 record lows. That puts the ratio at 53-to-1, making it the most lopsided month on record.
  #68  
Old 05-26-2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post
Just as an example, here is a quote from Scientific American, May 3, 2017, . . .
Sorry, that should be March 5, 2017.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
How about, "ED50 and WGS84 are two [geodetic] data which differ by a few hundred meters in Europe" ?

No pieces involved.
That brings back some memories. I don't recall if I ever saw 'datum' pluralised like that when I worked with those coordinate systems, and your sentence still sounds wrong to me, although I could imagine someone writing it. I'd prefer 'datums', which I'm sure grammarians would object to.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by guizot View Post
Yes--from copora of current NA English (written, spoken, formal, informal, academic, fiction, etc.), the word data is construed as plural about 2/3 of the time, and singular about 1/3 of the time. The plural usage is concentrated in academic print, while the singular usage is concentrated in speech, as well as magazines and newspapers, (which at times are quotations of speech), though not exclusively.
Are there examples like the one DPRK came up with, where 'data' is used with a number?
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DemonTree View Post
Are there examples like the one DPRK came up with, where 'data' is used with a number?
It apparently is plural, but not a true count noun, at least according to this source.

Quote:
‡It should be noted that some usage scholars, while acknowledging that data can be used as a plural, do not view data as a true plural count noun (1). This is because plural data fails the number test. A distinguishing feature of count nouns is that they can be modified by a cardinal number (one, two, three, etc.), as in one chair, two mountains, three bottles, etc. Data, on the other hand, cannot be used after a cardinal number (two data is not grammatical). Despite this debate, however, all agree that plural data, whether a count noun or not, still requires the same plural agreements (are, these, many, etc.).
This reflects my experience. "Two data" sounds horribly ungrammatical to my ears. I do see there is a usage mentioned above, but it still awkward and un-English to me.

ETA: Furthermore, regarding "datums":

Quote:
The singular count noun datum is not as common as data, but it is used frequently in academic, scientific, and technical writing. Listener Gabriel from Los Angeles left a voicemail asking about data and warned that before we declare datum dead, we should know that he encounters it frequently in his work in fluid mechanics and with topographical maps. In some disciplines, like geodesy, the plural datums is used instead of data. Other fields completely avoid the singular/plural data question by combining data with other words to make them unquestionably count nouns, as in data point or data set.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-26-2019 at 12:20 PM.
  #72  
Old 05-26-2019, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DemonTree View Post
Are there examples like the one DPRK came up with, where 'data' is used with a number?
I don't have time to do a complete search, but just from a quick initial look, collocating with two, I can only find one (out of the first 100), from Military History magazine (2002, p. 10), ("An historical theory of intelligence"):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Military History
While intelligence is necessary to the defense, it is only contingent to the offense. The validity of this principle is demonstrated, I believe, by two data. One is the relative frequency in history of defensive intelligence successes over offensive ones.
Everything else comes with counters, such as "two data points," or "two data sets," etc.
  #73  
Old 05-26-2019, 12:42 PM
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I can only find one . . .
Actually, three. Another in Shakespeare Quarterly (2016), and another spoken on CNN in 2006. So three out of 100 with "two data." It does happen, but the rarity is probably why it would sound strange, as pulykamell mentions.
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
It apparently is plural, but not a true count noun.
That explains it, and the fact guizot could find very few examples seems to confirm what they say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
In some disciplines, like geodesy, the plural datums is used instead of data.
And that explains why 'datums' sounded better to me in that context. Must have remembered it subconsciously.
  #75  
Old 05-26-2019, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I do see there is a usage mentioned above, but it still awkward and un-English to me.
Heh. *It's still awkward and un-English to me.
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