Consolidated list of questions: English, Biology

What you’re trying to call ‘rules of form’ here are not grammar, but style, and style is a matter of fashion, not correctness.

Real grammar books, the ones linguists use, take great pains to accurately describe language in all its forms, from the most formal to the most informal, and don’t make idiot pronouncements about how language is being degraded.

So if I stylistically prefer one form to the other (not that school’ll is any more phonaesthetially pleasing), still the former must be correct?

Also, I see dropping all the time. In the prove to be case in particular, is dropping to be correct? I don’t quite follow the close enough thing.

Anyone who posts here and wants to do citations should know that tens of millions of searchable newspaper articles are available on the Internet.

There are sites like that do searchable OCR copies of thousands of (mostly older, mostly small town) papers. The New York Times and many other newspapers have searchable archives, that are scanned in from the originals. Dozens of major magazines, which have far more space constraints than newspapers, have searchable archives. Sites like and others make original documents available.

Needing to go to archive sources makes a totally dubious assumption, though. All newspaper files are in electronic form and virtually every newspaper in the country puts at least some of its articles up on its web site. As written. You’re making the odd assumption that newspapers would rewrite articles to expand words such as dog’d or school’ll for the website because they have more room there. I would need a cite that any newspaper in the country ever does this as a regular practice. I would need a cite that any newspaper in the country has ever done this even once. (Not the same as updating or expanding an article for the web, of course. I’m referring specially to words answering the question in this thread.)

So, yes, if you say that this practice is common, you can easily show us examples of it just by doing some basic searching on your computer. I’ve done some basic searching. I cannot find a single example of it in newspapers. That’s why I’m refuting your assertion. If you’re right, the proof is out there and all you need to do is cut and paste it or give a link.

But I was talking about printed versions, not online ones. They’re not always the same. Do you really expect me to go out and buy a newspaper and type it up then save it online somewhere just so that you can say it doesn’t count unless enough long-term members of the SDMB view the same article in print?

And I never said that it was common, just that it happens more in character-restricted media than on the Straight Dope Messageboards, where we can just warble on as long as we like.

Once again, what is you cite for this assertion?