instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, August 20, 2004

Personally prime

Have you ever heard of "E-Prime"? It's an artificial English dialect that lacks the verb "to be." Or maybe it's better to say E-Prime is its own language, with its own dialects based on which ways of using "to be" are prohibited.

It's an interesting concept, I think, though in the end one based on a mania of the sort only people trying to be too clever are susceptible to. I mean, is "John appears asleep to me" always better than "John is sleeping"?

I don't suppose my rule discussed in the post below -- "Use the 'is' of negative predication with care" -- constitutes a dialect of E-Prime (nor, for that matter, does Steven's "Don't use the 'is' of negative predication"), so that's one mania I've avoided so far.

[In E-Prime:

Have you ever heard of "E-Prime," an artificial English dialect that lacks the verb "to be." Or maybe I should describe E-Prime as its own language, with its own dialects based on which ways of using "to be" a speaker prohibits.

I consider it an interesting concept, though in the end one based on a mania of the sort only people too clever by half succumb to. I mean, what makes "John appears asleep to me" always better than "John is sleeping"?

I don't suppose my rule discussed in the post below -- "Use the 'is' of negative predication with care" -- constitutes a dialect of E-Prime (nor, for that matter, does Steven's "Don't use the 'is' of negative predication"), so I have avoided at least one mania so far.
]

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