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July 24, 2006
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But that doesn't mean "skeptic" was a spelling reform proposed by Noah Webster. I don't think it was; the "sk" spelling predates Webster, it's the only spelling in Johnson's dictionary.
I don't know why "scepticism" is flagged but I don't think it has anything to do with Noah Webster.
Remember that MWDEU is not the same publication as Webster's Third dictionary.
If you have other references, link to them. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage is my favourite. MWDEU is not the definitive authority on the English language. There is no such thing.
No, it's not a backronym either. The OED says its from thieves cant, ultimate origin unknown.
The use of "they" originally had nothing to do with political correctness. "They" has been used as a common-gender common-number pronoun since the 1300s, and this use has continued until today. It is well-established.
"A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" by Huddleston and Pullum describes three uses for the past tense:
1 past time: I promised to be back for lunch.
2 modal remoteness: I wish they lived nearby. If he loved her, he'd change his job.This has traditionally been called the "subjunctive". It covers cases where the event is modally remote, either it's counterfactual, or its fulfillment is a remote possibility. Presumably "It is time you went to bed" falls here as well.
3 backshift in indirect reported speech: I told Stacey that Kim had (instead of has) blue eyes.
"tip" is not an acronym.
How far will this practice be taken? It's already been taken quite far: language, savage, umbrage, carriage, village, luggage, etc. When will the madness stop???
According to the OED, "signage" dates from 1949. "sewerage": 1834. "reportage": 1878.
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