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Joined: May 19, 2009  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 3
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Well, it depends on what Brian W. means by "wrong". Does he mean 'incorrect', or is this a normative assertion? If he means the sentence is incorrect, his own argument doesn't support that: if the sentence refers to an overall set of 100 errors, then the sentence specifically points to the 99 of them that are most common--the sentence is not incorrect, merely fuzzy, which might be considered 'wrong'. Few, however, would take the sentence literally to mean all but the one least common error; rather, the sentence would commonly be construed to refer to an ill-defined set of very common errors.

The discussion isn't well served by being second hand in this case: did Brian W. say "wrong" or did he say "incorrect"? Or did he simply say what was quoted? If the latter, the semantic discussion must also consider the intended meaning of "Proper". Does 'proper' in this case refer to the formal use of 'most'? The informal use? The mathematical use?

Eric May 19, 2009, 7:04pm

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My impression was, and recollection is, that the grave accent was superfluous in French resumé, and would serve only to distinguish the [?] of the first e from the [e] of the second, if used. I don't think either my recollection or the source are incorrect, per se, although both might have their tongues slightly in their cheeks when pronouncing those ees.

Eric May 19, 2009, 6:08pm

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I wondered about the accents myself, so I looked it up back when I was in college (no personal computers then, I'm talking about the 1970s). What I discovered was that the first e would take a grave, not an acute accent, so if you're going to be pedantic enough to use the accent on the first e, you might as well be pedantic enough to use a grave accent. Personally, I leave both accents off unless for some reason I both know I might encounter and expect to want to impress...a pedant.

Eric May 19, 2009, 3:21pm

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