English Is A Product Of Ignorance Essay

1087 Words Oct 21st, 2015 5 Pages
Edward Finegan argues that there is no right or wrong when it comes to language. Finegan says that, “English is now changing in exactly the same ways that have contributed to making it the rich, flexible, and adaptable language so popular throughout the world today.” Finegan describes descriptive and prescriptive views of language to argue that English is not falling apart, but simply changing as time progresses. John Simon, on the other hand, argues that “good English” needs to be preserved because any other form of English is a product of ignorance.
Finegan starts off his argument by analyzing descriptive and prescriptive grammar. He states, “Descriptive grammarians ask the question, “What is English (or another language) like—what are its forms and how do they function in various situations?”” In the next sentence he says, “prescriptive grammarians ask “What should English be like—what forms should people use and what functions should they serve?”” The difference between the two is important because while one tries to preserve forms of language, the other tries to simply depict the use of language. The author mentions various examples between prescriptivists and descriptivists that support his claim. One example describes the stance each type of grammarian would take regarding “double negatives.” Another example is the phrase ‘between you and me’ and ‘between you and I.’ Finegan says “prescriptivists would argue that pronouns should have objective forms after…

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