Author Topic: The Reason IS Why  (Read 11444 times)

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Offline dj

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Re: The Reason IS Why
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2006, 10:09:50 AM »
Quote from: "swpalmer"

PLEASE stop saying, "The reason why ..."

It's poor english.  It's redundant.

Perhaps you can blame it on the poor textbooks you used in english class.



Hmm, like Shakespeare in Lear : The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason

or John Donne, Elergy 12: Love gives her youth—which is the reason why / Youths, for her sake, some wither and some die

or Milton in Areopagitica : the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser

or Dickens in A Christmas Carol: perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse...

or Shaw in Socialism and Liberty: The reason why sensible people are as conventional as they can bear to be

So we'll start by slinging out these poor examples: Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Shaw, Dickens; and we'll have left whatever childhood primer you're recalling...

Offline swpalmer

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Re: The Reason IS Why
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2006, 03:46:21 PM »
Quote from: "dj"
Quote from: "swpalmer"

PLEASE stop saying, "The reason why ..."

It's poor english.  It's redundant.

Perhaps you can blame it on the poor textbooks you used in english class.



Hmm, like Shakespeare in Lear : The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason

or John Donne, Elergy 12: Love gives her youth—which is the reason why / Youths, for her sake, some wither and some die

or Milton in Areopagitica : the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser

or Dickens in A Christmas Carol: perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse...

or Shaw in Socialism and Liberty: The reason why sensible people are as conventional as they can bear to be

So we'll start by slinging out these poor examples: Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Shaw, Dickens; and we'll have left whatever childhood primer you're recalling...


Well none of those are text books, but if you are saying that you can get away with it and still be a good writer, that isn't really my point.

It's just something that sounds silly to me, that's all.  I find it hard to imagine that discussion of it really bothers Perry so much that he avoids posting :)

How about another peeve:  Writing the date numerically but with less significant units in front of more significant units - like MM DD YY instead of YYYY MM DD.  It makes little sense and leads to confusion.  The international standard ISO 8601 got it right at least :).. too bad so few people use it.

I can come up with all sorts of insignificant peeves.

 :lol:

Offline dj

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Getting away with it
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2006, 05:17:52 PM »
Quote
if you are saying that you can get away with it and still be a good writer, that isn't really my point.


No, I was trying - and obviously failing - to suggest that a model of good English might be the greatest writers of the English language; and that any rules you're citing should pay regard to actual English usage.

If you think Donne (my favourite) so carelessly used words in his poetry that his writing could reasonably be described as getting away with it then I think we'll end the discussion there.

As Donne said,

pedantic wretch, go chide /  Late school-boys

Offline swpalmer

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Re: Getting away with it
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2006, 10:37:44 PM »
Quote from: "dj"
No, I was trying - and obviously failing - to suggest that a model of good English might be the greatest writers of the English language; and that any rules you're citing should pay regard to actual English usage.

If you think Donne (my favourite) so carelessly used words in his poetry that his writing could reasonably be described as getting away with it then I think we'll end the discussion there.


There's no need to twist my statement into a claim that I called your favourite author careless or in some way insulted him.

The combination of words can be either redundant or not, regardless of who does it or for what reasons or how wonderful their writing is.  I think it is usually redundant and it sounds silly to me because of that redundancy.

Of course poetry is allowed to break the rules anyway, and I was referring to everyday speech not works of art.  And of course people don't talk the way they write.  If we are supposed to do that then my speech is severely adjective deficient :).  But all of that is irrelevant, much like this entire discussion :).  I'm sorry I bothered to mention it.

Offline mindme

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The Reason IS Why
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2006, 03:29:59 AM »
My students, when they write essays, they tend to make a statement and then the next sentence is "the reason is".

I give them this example. "Suppose I wrote in an essay 'I hate my mother.' What would you hope is the very next sentence? Right, the reason. A reader will understand your next sentence is a reason for your view."

(The idea of a person hating his/her mother in Korea is so beyond belief that you better have a damn good reason.)

"Now what if I wrote 'I hate my mother. Milk is delicious.' That second sentence does not make sense as your brain expects the next sentence to be the reason. So, writing 'the reason is' is unnecessary."

The reason why we say the reason why, however, I think is generally two fold:

1) it gives us time to think of our reason, or word it. It's an "ummm"

2) making too blunt statements sound rude when spoken. Since English doesn't have formal verb conjugations like other languages, we tend to unconsciously employ longer, more flowery speech when we want to come across as being polite. The unstated idea is if you're spending more time to say something, you're being more thoughtful. It's like the guy at a store who asks the employee with the name tag and uniform "do you work here?" Yes, he's sure, yes it's a stupid question, but it's a way of being unassuming which we then tend to judge as polite.

In writing, it's no doubt sloppy. In speech, it has its effect.
"Because the world needs more Mark Crislip."

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Offline swpalmer

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The Reason IS Why
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2006, 08:23:02 PM »
Quote from: "mindme"
My students, when they write essays, they tend to make a statement and then the next sentence is "the reason is".

I give them this example. "Suppose I wrote in an essay 'I hate my mother.' What would you hope is the very next sentence? Right, the reason. A reader will understand your next sentence is a reason for your view."


I don't think you are talking about the same thing.  I'm talking about using both words side-by-side "...reason why..."  If your student writes "the reason is ..." they are using the word reason without another redundant word that means "the reason".  I agree that depending on the context you don't have to explicitly state "the reason is" because it is implied.

I'm simply talking about the difference between, "The reason I don't like redundant speech is..." vs. "The reason why I don't like redundant speech is..."

Anyway this has very little to do about anything important, and nothing skeptical, so I'll try to stop posting to this thread :)  (It upsets Perry.:))

Offline Luna

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The Reason IS Why
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2006, 02:17:01 PM »
pointless to bring up.
Praise Jesus.

 

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