15 August 2005

Grammar issue

The difference between noun and adjectival forms of words escapes far too many people, it seems.

Working through a back issue of the New Yorker, there’s a quote from
Elizabeth Dole, the senator from N. Carolina, complaing about the
“liberal Democrat agenda.”  Democratic is the word, Libby.  Democratic.  See, “Democratic” is the adjectival form, used when we
modify nouns like “agenda” and “party.”  Democratic agenda. 
Democratic party.  But “Democrat(s)” when we talk about the actual
people.  “The Democrats are a political party.”

Would you say “This is the America agenda”?  Or, “The America
people are lovers of freedom”?  Clearly not, unless your English
was quite bad.

I have this feeling that this is being done because it somehow seems
derisive in the eyes of Republicans who use the noun as an adjective, as if
not using the correct form demeans the Democrats somehow.  Whatever
the reason, it just makes the users sound like ignorant,
grammar-challenged rubes. 

Same goes for “Episcopal” (adj.) and “Episcopalian” (noun). 
And “organization” (noun) and “organizational” (adj.).  And a
whole host of others.

Posted in RmAuNsDiOnMg on 15 August 2005 at 12:35 pm by Nate