Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

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Ryland Westbrook, III

Member Since

April 5, 2017

Total number of comments

1

Total number of votes received

0

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Latest Comments

Someone else’s

  • April 5, 2017, 5:51pm

Oh, the bane of the existence of every English professor: the general consensus.

I see these are old submissions; however, people still stumble upon this page as I have today, so I would like to add my response lo these many years later.

As a retired English professor and newspaper editor, I've always found it disturbing how people presume English grammar and spelling to be subjective to their opinions and that whatever "sounds right" is the right way to go.

Consider the comment in the original question that "There are a lot of discussions online about 'passers-by' vs. 'passer-bys'” and that the author found the "general consensus" made one "more correct" than the other. (Incidentally, something cannot be "more correct." Things are either correct or incorrect.)

The person posting the question, Dyske, is in good, and sadly, often otherwise well-educated company. I applaud Dyske for seeking the correct spelling, I grieve that he or she sought it in the wrong place.

What disturbs me is not unique to Dyske. It is something that could have been written by a majority of the population, and that is the suggestion that one "is more correct" because of a "general consensus."

"The general consensus" is not what determines if English grammar or spelling is correct. There are rules in English spelling and grammar, standards that are not based upon a "general consensus."

People who attend school in the United States are taught those rules every year in English class, even if in an English literature class, with the expectation that they will retain those rules and use them throughout their lives. Even universities require English courses as part of core curricula.

Leaving questions of spelling or grammar to what a group of people think is correct will often lead you to the wrong answer. In this case, the general consensus, as well as all of the responses within view of this comment box, are wrong on both points.

If you have a question about spelling and grammar, consult a reputable dictionary like Merriam-Webster or Oxford Dictionaries and not other people. You can't even trust the spelling and grammar feature in your computer. While I'm certain that those who have responded here have the best of intentions and that their arguments can sound compelling, go to the authorities in English grammar and spelling for your answers.

Had a reputable dictionary been consulted in this case, Dyske would have learned that the correct spelling is "passersby."

Ryland Westbrook, III.