Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor

Subject: Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor
From: guy <guy -at- hiskeyboard -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 11:00:53 -0700

Anthony Davey wrote:

Okay, I've been quiet about this for long enough. But now we have got to the subject of grammar, would somebody please decline 'get' so that I can see where on earth 'gotten' comes from?

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday.....


Quoting Burchfield's _Fowler_:

*gotten.* Nothing points more clearly to the North Americanness of a person than the ability to use the pa.pple [past participle] forms _got_ and _gotten_ in a natural manner. _Gotten_ forms no part of the paradigm of the verb _get_ in the UK--though it once did--or in any other part of the English-speaking world, though I have observed it being used sporadically in New Zealand and Australia in recent years, esp. by young people, and its use may well be spreading elsewhere too. In AmE it is a fairly safe rule that _gotten_ is used when the sense is 'obtained', but _got_ when it means 'owned, possessed'. It has also been suggested that _gotten_ is preferred to _got_ when a notion of progression is involved. The matter cannot be neatly resolved since _get_ has so many other senses and applications, and the prospect of examining the distribution of _gotten_ and _got_ in all of them would be very daunting indeed.
[many examples omitted]
With all this happening to _gotten_ outside the UK it is curious that the word remains outside standard BrE, while _begotten_, _forgotten_, and _ill-gotten_ remain such natural members of the everyday vocublary of British people.

Guy K. Haas
guy -at- hiskeyboard -dot- com | gkhaas -at- usa -dot- net &
Software Exegete in Silicon Valley


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RE: what to look for in a Tech Editor: From: Dick Margulis
Re: what to look for in a Tech Editor: From: Anthony Davey

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