I’m a’thinkin’ it depen’s on who y’all are talkin’ to. If’n’you ar’ writin’ a speech f’r the pres’, the’you’d wann’a maybe avo’d any ser’us contractinating; bu’here on SDMB, c’ntr’ct’n’t’ away.
Use what sounds best, “Bob’s six feet tall.” or “Bob is six feet tall”, to me that latter sounds better, but that’s in the context of illustration … I think in causal conversation the former would just go right on by being unremarkable.
There may be some contexts in which alright and all right have separate connotations. However, that says nothing about the contexts in which alright and all right are interchangeable. And I’d say that the vast majority of written uses of alright are simply variant spellings of all right. The spoken language is not relevant there.
Language is a consensus. If you go off on your own, you won’t be understood, or only understood by the dint of too much effort for most people to bother with. This has always been true and always will be.
And what’s the alternative? Asking for your permission each and every time anybody writes anything in English? Who are you? What are your credentials and expertise? From the evidence here you don’t even understand how a language works, so why should we come to you for your approval?
Good writers make the language by example, not by rules. The reality is that they can’t make any rules because they don’t agree with one another. The Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary destroyed that myth almost 50 years ago. Prescriptivism was dead at that moment. The news apparently hasn’t reached some people yet.
I would be willing to bet everyone in this thread can understand exactly what I wrote. If understanding is the only criteria, then what I wrote is acceptable, right?
What are you talking about? When did I say I should be the arbiter? There are plenty of experts. They write dictionaries, grammar texts, and style guides. And we use those. All I am asking is that some of them not be so quick to adopt something into the official lexicon that is obviously nothing more than a misspelling, just because they’ve seen people spell it that way.
Nonsense. Prescriptivism is not an on/off proposition, it is a matter of degrees, and I happen to be of the opinion that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. It is funny though - prescriptivism being dead was basically what my complaint was, and you answer by implying that I didn’t know that. Funny that I would complain about something with which I was unaware.
This is all my opinion, of course. So sorry if that makes you angry.
“Prescriptivism” with regards to grammar is not dead, though happily it is now not favored.
“Prescriptivism” is meaningless when discussing orthography, i.e. spelling. There’s no “grammatical” component to spelling; it’s entirely about consensus. And the consensus(es) about English spelling are pretty much as arbitrary as they come.
“Alright” is considered, mostly, to be an error. But, probably, it won’t be, eventually. Right now, it’s in a kind of limbo, with “alot”. [Seems obvious to me that “alright” came about by analogy with “already,” “almost,” “always”.] There’s nothing “lost” when spellings lose or gain favo(u)r, and whatever the arguments there might be about how we should teach grammar, or punctuation (also purely a matter of consensus!), spelling is another matter.
Re: the original topic of the thread, I think it’s a mistake to discourage contractions in formal writing, and certainly see no reason to avoid contracting ‘is’ with proper nouns but not pronouns. But looking at my own writing above, I see that I do avoid contractions with proper nouns, and not with pronouns. My analysis is that, for aesthetic and rhythmic reasons, it often “sounds” or “looks” better in formal and semi-formal prose to avoid contractions with proper nouns. But almost certainly it won’t always!
Did you miss the part of my post that I now bolded for you?
But they do not agree even within themselves or with one another. Dictionaries contain a great many pronunciations, spellings, and meanings. Grammar texts are mostly irrelevant because most people use grammar properly without even thinking about it. Style guides are useful solely for formal publications whose writers have agreed in advance to use that particular style guide rather than the competing ones that have a different take. I have mentioned before that when I sold my first book I was told to use the Chicago Manual of Style. I went out and bought that expensive volume. And then the galleys came with a list of 50 exceptions that were unique to the publisher. I said heck with it and left it for the copyeditor. Asking ordinary people to follow a style guide is a huge honking clue that your standards are ridiculous.
This is flat wrong in every way. Despite your apparent belief, the overall language changes quite slowly. Established words take decades to acquire new meanings or spellings that are generally accepted. Dictionaries require that new entries have a base of broad usage before they can be added to the rest. That means that dictionaries are always behind the times. They are worst, in fact, for shades of meaning. We’ve had numerous threads in which people cite a dictionary definition for a word only to have everybody else point out that everyday language varies from that.
The reality is that language changes slowly because “language” is a giant super-sized ocean liner that can’t swing even a millionth of a degree off course in a short period. What people complain about are a handful of irregularities that they focus on for some reason without taking any time or effort to research their actual usage or actual effects. It’s a mindless hobby, like complaining about the Kardashians.
Opinions do not make me angry. Opinions based on beliefs that are demonstrably false do. Opinions based on facts that just aren’t so do. Opinions based on fundamental lack of understanding of the subject matter do. Your “opinions” on language are about as defensible as people’s “opinions” on mathematics.