Yet another inventory of postings (on Language Log and on this blog), this time on references to One Right Way in usage advice.
One Right Way is the “one form, one meaning” principle (which has been articulated by a number of writers in various contexts) turned into usage advice, with two parts:
(1) There is One Right Way to use an expression; a form should have only one meaning.
(2) There is One Right Way to express a meaning; a meaning should be expressed by only one form. No true synonyms.
Both clauses are used to object to lexical innovations (or what are perceived to be innovations), among other things: clause (1) to object to extensions of meanings (decimate ‘devastate’ is a famous example) and to category shifts (verbings, nounings, and adjings, as in the case of fun); and clause (2) to object to novel lexical items, including back-formations, and also to the cases covered by (1) (on the grounds that the language already has ways of expressing the meaning in question). There are other uses as well, described in the postings below.
The inventory covers only postings where the label One Right Way is used. As a result, they’re all by me, since I’m the writer who regularly uses this label (in these blogs and in ADS-L).
Language Log Classic
AZ, 5/3/05: Don’t do this at home, kiddies!:
AZ, 2/11/06: Whatever is not prohibited is permitted – not!:
AZ, 9/13/06: The tyranny of the majority, and other reasons for choosing a variant:
AZ, 2/24/07: Tolerating variation, or not:
AZ, 7/22/07: One will get you four more:
AZ, 12/30/07: Blameless:
New Language Log
AZ, 5/15/08: approve (of):
AZ, 5/16/08: protest of:
AZ, 7/13/08: Test obscenity, taboo avoidance, and prescriptivism:
AZ, 7/30/08: Not exactly a smackdown:
AZ, 10/30/08: Periods:
AZ, 3/24/09: Wordy, not classy, and lazy:
AZ, 4/4/09: Agreement with disjunctive subjects:
AZ, 5/15/09: Rigid complementarity:
AZ, 5/8/09: Making distinctions 1:
Arnold Zwicky’s blog