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This short survey aims to collect data on the use of
these kind of
phrases, which have exercised usage guide writers for more than three centuries. Phrases like these appeared in guides as early as Robert Baker’s
Remarks on the English Language
(1770), and also in the most recent edition of
Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage
(2015). The survey is conducted in the context of the Bridging the Unbridgeable project, a project on English usage guides and usage problems at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (www.bridgingtheunbridgeable.com/).
The survey consists of a number of short extracts, starting with “
These sort of plays
need first-class acting”. This sentence is taken from Mittins et al.’s (1970) survey in
Attitudes to English Usage
for comparison. I would like to ask you whether, in an article that appeared in an academic journal, you would find the phrase acceptable, or whether you would revise it, and if so how.
At the end, you will be asked a few questions about yourself. These will be used (anonymously) in order to find out, for example, if academics and copy-editors respond differently. All of the data will be treated confidentially.
For any further information, please contact Adrian Stenton (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you wish to be informed about the results of the survey, please let me know.
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