Subject: Re: less parentheses --> fewer parentheses
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/08/25
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* thi <>
| *bing* (sound of lightbulb): is this related to other singular-plural
| localisms?  to me the sentence "sun microsystems have released a chip"
| sounds odd (i would use "has") but apparently this is the norm for many.

  One of the first things you learn when you try to figure out what's
  wrong with British English¹, aside from misspelling -ize as -ise, is
  that the British see plurals a in unexpected places.  The British
  are more true to the _lexical_ plural in their grammar.  Americans
  consider named groups a singular and have a much more abstract
  understanding of how plural forms really are singular referents.
  American English also tends to omit words more than British, and
  this means you end up with grammatical forms that are valid only
  _after_ the omitted words have been reintroduced.  In British, it
  seems the grammar applies to the remaining words, even though it
  makes no sense with the omitted words reinstated.

  One of the reasons I decided against British was that it was much
  too rule-based and irrational at the same time: rules applied to
  situations that clearly were mistakes, but in Britain, if a mistake
  is old enough, it's just relabeled a "tradition".  American English
  cleaned up a lot of this historical garbage, in great part thanks to
  the amazing work of Noah Webster.  The British, of course, regard
  this as "colonialisms" and are therefore prevented from learning
  from Americans.  One could almost mistake them for being French.

¹ a.k.a. "how it differs from American English"
  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.