Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday April 24, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

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Boston Globe photo
by David L. Ryan

Harvard student
Kaavya Viswanathan,
author of Opal Mehta

From the novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life, excerpt in USA Today:

“If our incoming student body is capable only of immersing themselves in book learning, then I’m not doing my job.”

— The Harvard Dean of Admissions

From The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., 1918:

Student body.  A needless and awkward expression, meaning no more than the simple word students.

They.  A common inaccuracy is the use of the plural pronoun when the antecedent is a distributive expression such as each, each one, everybody, every one, many a man, which, though implying more than one person, requires the pronoun to be in the singular.  Similar to this, but with even less justification, is the use of the plural pronoun with the antecedent anybody, any one, somebody, some one, the intention being either to avoid the awkward “he or she,” or to avoid committing oneself to either.  Some bashful speakers even say, “A friend of mine told me that they, etc.”

Related material in today’s Harvard Crimson:

Student’s Novel Faces Plagiarism Controversy.

Also of interest:

This “may be the only chick-lit novel with a subplot that involves solving a famous math theorem.”

Marilyn Bailey, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 4/17/06

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