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Who'da thunk it?

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 23, 2003

In Reply to: Who'da thunk it? posted by Kit on September 04, 2003

Kit (obviously a Brit) say: 'The phrase "Who'da thunk it?" is widely used in American culture and is becoming accepted as a legitimate statement. What a shame for our beautiful language.
Anyone who has even a slight grasp of the English language is advised to avoid it, no matter how 'amusing' it may be. I guess that's why the Americans use it. How
typical." Excuse me? Widely used? By whom? It is never used except as a joke phrase. Even our least literate citizens, or most of them, no that it is incorrect.

However, there is a more serious issue involved with words like snuck, stunk, dove (for dived), and a host of other strong-verb forms used where more cautious cowards always head for the weak-verb forms. It is part of the heritage of the language (the one which divides us from our friends across the ocean) that strong-verb forms and weak-verb forms both exist, and that the people who speak the language use what seems appropriate at the time, without first consulting the dictionary. Indeed, dictionaries today make a sort of fetish of never admitting that there is such a thing as in incorrect usage.

Another issue concerns "My Associated Press Stylebook." Has Kit ever examined in detail the stylebooks put out by the media compalnies (including broadcasters). Before it was discovered that TV news could make money some news readers tried to use good English. Now they try to talk the way the people do. Or at least I think that's the rationale for the horrors perpetrated by these stylebooks.