RE: Inflammable vs. flammable

Subject: RE: Inflammable vs. flammable
From: Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 19:59:50 -0400

Unfortunately, most dictionary users react to descriptive
dictionaries as if they were prescriptive. If they find a
word in the dictionary, then it must be OK to use it.
Never mind that it's described as "non-standard" or
"informal" or "slang" or "improper". If it's there, it's OK.

Even Lauren says "I'm starting to lose faith in M-W because
of its acceptance of improper terms," when they are only
reporting what exists in modern usage (describing) rather
than passing any kind of judgment on properness
(prescribing). She's expecting a prescriptive value judgment
from an unashamedly descriptive dictionary.

-Fred Ridder
Gene Kim-Eng wrote:
> True, but a properly researched "descriptive" dictionary
> can be used "prescriptively," so long as one pays attention
> to notations about a word's status.
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