Re: Wrong? Poor style? OK?

Subject: Re: Wrong? Poor style? OK?
From: "nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il" <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 07:22:10 -0400

Caroline wrote:
> However, the use of a clause introduced by "how" as
> a direct object is what my editor objects to, no
> doubt about that!

There are plenty of examples of noun clauses
introduced by "how", although there may be
a difficulty calling them noun clauses because
the dictionaries insist that "how" is a
conjunction (a subordinate conjunction,
I suppose) rather than a relative pronoun.

The online Merriam-Webster uses the example
"remember how they fought", and it considers
that in such an example, "how" is a conjunction.

American Heritage has a similar example:
"forgot how it was done", with "how" again
pegged as a conjunction.

Webster's New World dictionary has three:
"do you know how I despise you," "ask him
how he's been," and "show us how you did
it." Conjunction, they say.

But it doesn't make sense to me. You could
say "How they wrote was remembered. How they
fought was forgotten," and no one could call
"how" a conjunction there. I think it's a
relative pronoun.

The Cambridge Dictionary of American English
even quotes "I was horrified to hear about how
she had been treated," where "how she had been
treated" is obviously the object of a preposition,
and yet Cambridge calls "how" a conjunction in
that sentence.

Anyone want to join me in writing a
new dictionary?

Mark L. Levinson
nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il

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