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Old 10-17-2011, 04:40 PM   #41
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Those interested in grammar might want to compare the alternatives:
  1. "if one of you loses their job"
  2. "if one of you loses his job"
  3. "if one of you loses a job"
The difficulty with 1. is the failure of number agreement between "one" and "their". The difficulty with 2. is that one of those referred to is surely not a "he", so "his" sounds wrong. The difficulty with 3. is the vagueness about what job or whose job is lost (the job that was had by the one that lost it?).
I think 3 is best, since we know that the people are a man and woman. True, this leaves open the possibility that this couple have 3, 4, or more jobs, so losing "a job" might not be a big deal. However the main sin in writing today is not bad grammar or lack of clarity, but (horrors!) sexism.

So I would guess that 95% of right thinking writers would use #1, "their job", even though it is patently absurd.

"his or her job" is clumsy, but seems clear to me.

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Old 10-17-2011, 04:56 PM   #42
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Those interested in grammar might want to compare the alternatives:.....
Raise your hand if you think you've never made a grammatical error in an impromptu post to a message board. The e-r.org grammar police were laid off long ago.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:16 PM   #43
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Raise your hand if you think you've never made a grammatical error in an impromptu post to a message board.
<raises hand>

(And please note that I didn't imply the post that I commented on was erroneous.)
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:19 PM   #44
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<raises hand>
A claim of perfection is implicitly imperfect.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:42 PM   #45
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Like most blog things, this is just opinion, not fact. Some things, like steep mountain snow boarding, playing tennis well, riding English, playing the violin or piano and foreign language are learned differently and better from a young age then when you are older and are different neurologically and also have less time to devote to it. He is wrong that instructors for riding and golf and violin etc. have recently sprung up to service this clientele- these teachers have always been around, for hundreds of years, and if they are well chosen you get skilled instruction for your money.
Concur. I recently signed my 4 year-old up for the fancy expensive swim school after years of on-and-off mediocre (and cheap) swim instruction. I'm paying twice as much as the local YMCA but my son made faster progress in a month than I ever could have imagined. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

I wasn't that impressed with the Ivy League Preschool Syndrome essay. Maybe its because we already do a lot of that stuff - we homeschool on a budget and we encourage our kid in activities that my husband and I already do (hiking, rock climbing, snow sports, etc.) - or maybe its because I just don't know any parents who are paying $30K for preschool or who have their kids in riding lessons. Most of my mom friends are not shooting for Harvard but simply trying to give their kids a decent education without having to deal with violence, or bullying, or 40 kids in a single Kindergaten class.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:48 PM   #46
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<raises hand>

(And please note that I didn't imply the post that I commented on was erroneous.)
Really--pointing out two other ways to word a sentence (that is not at all pertinent to the thread topic) doesn't imply the original wording was erroneous? Then why point them out?
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:51 PM   #47
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Really--pointing out two other ways to word a sentence (that is not at all pertinent to the thread topic) doesn't imply the original wording was erroneous? Then why point them out?
It was perhaps off topic, but it did point out a very interesting grammar question. And interest is always welcome.

Ha
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:13 PM   #48
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Really--pointing out two other ways to word a sentence (that is not at all pertinent to the thread topic) doesn't imply the original wording was erroneous? Then why point them out?
No, it doesn't imply that the original wording was any more erroneous than the others I listed, because for each of the 3 wordings I listed, I gave a reason that made it problematic. Why point all three out? I just find it interesting that in such cases, English gives us no perfect choice. It's a defect of the language. But of course, you don't have to be interested. I'm interested, because I'm a grammarian.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:22 PM   #49
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And in my copyediting days I would have pointed out to the author of a manuscript that the singular subject did not agree with the plural pronoun and suggest "his or her" instead. In a message board post when the sentence in question doesn't have anything to do with the validity of the rest of the response? Never. But that's me.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:24 PM   #50
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Concur. I recently signed my 4 year-old up for the fancy expensive swim school after years of on-and-off mediocre (and cheap) swim instruction. I'm paying twice as much as the local YMCA but my son made faster progress in a month than I ever could have imagined. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.
Or perhaps your 4-year-old is now more comfortable with water and physical activity (motor - neuron skills) and ready to learn to swim now?

As a ridiculous example, how about this: You have your 4-year old take basketball lessons with a 10-foot high goal at the YMCA. But later when they are 12-years old, they take basketball lessons from an expensive place with an ex-NBA player as a coach. At which place are they going to make faster progress in a month?

Or switch that around: The 4-year old takes expensive lessons from the ex-NBA player and the 12-year old takes lessons at the YMCA.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:36 PM   #51
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Or perhaps your 4-year-old is now more comfortable with water and physical activity (motor - neuron skills) and ready to learn to swim now?
Honestly I think the biggest difference is that its an indoor facility with 92 degree water. My son has zero body fat and was shivering like crazy during and after every lesson. It's hard to pay attention if you are miserable. Part of the extra expense is just for hot water.

There is also 3-1 student teacher ratio vs. 6-1 at the Y.

However, as someone who learned to swim at the age of 35 I'm well aware of what quality swim instruction looks like. There's a big difference between someone who actually knows how to teach and is using good methodology (balance in the water, no reliance on flotation devices) vs. a 19 year-old home from college for the summer who may or may not have any special training or aptitude for instruction.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:53 PM   #52
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I was a passable swimmer when I went to college. I swam in all the local lakes and creeks, sometimes on invitation at CC pools. When I got to college. I went out for intramural swimming meets, and I was terrible. I got about 10 lessons from the university coach who was also a US Olympic coach. I improved maybe 1000%.

Today, I can go a year without swimming, and dive in and swim freestyle for a mile without even breathing hard. Technique is all, and prior to my lessons my teachers either didn't understand what to look for, or how to correct my errors, or didn't care to bother. Everything is that way.

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I'd say that given this information, my parents could have saved on the riding lessons and private school, had they been inclined.
But you sure looked hot in your riding habit, no? Remember, you did post pictures one upon a time

When I was taking my son to riding lessons there was a really pretty 25 year old redhead who was learning to sit canter and a slow gallop.

Aii-yaii! Que bellissima!

My son's lessons were a bargain, all in all.

Ha
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:16 PM   #53
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Honestly I think the biggest difference is that its an indoor facility with 92 degree water. My son has zero body fat and was shivering like crazy during and after every lesson. It's hard to pay attention if you are miserable. Part of the extra expense is just for hot water.
I completely agree. Our neighborhood has a training facility where Olympic swimmers (and several gold medalists) often train. There is highly recommended and successful guy who teaches kids there and also at neighborhood pools. Anyways, the non-negotiable criteria he has for training a child at a particular pool is that the pool is heated at a certain temp.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:18 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
Those interested in grammar might want to compare the alternatives:
  1. "if one of you loses their job"
  2. "if one of you loses his job"
  3. "if one of you loses a job"
The difficulty with 1. is the failure of number agreement between "one" and "their". The difficulty with 2. is that one of those referred to is surely not a "he", so "his" sounds wrong. The difficulty with 3. is the vagueness about what job or whose job is lost (the job that was had by the one that lost it?).
Or how about a shift to avoid the problems - "if one of you becomes unemployed"? Since grammar is not a strong point of mine, I do lots of shifting from questionable to something I think is safer.

Just saw some of the follow-up posts - I didn't take it as pointing out any error, just an observation as to different ways to approach it. I appreciate GregLee's little diversions into language subtleties, I usually learn something (I just won't guarantee I'll remember it).

Threadjacking is still part of er.org, no?


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Old 10-18-2011, 12:11 AM   #55
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This little rule of thumb would indicate kids cost $12k a year per head, or $24000 if you have 2. Since that is roughly how much our entire family of 4 spends on core expenses (things like food, house upkeep, cars, education, entertainment, utilities, etc), I think some in the middle class can raise kids for less than $12k a year. Particularly if you have more than 1, since they are cheaper per unit if you raise a large quantity.
Well, you are "paying" your MIL only about $3600 a year to provide 40 hours a week in-home day care, not sure all of us can get that deal....... If you give her two weeks a year off for vacations, then she's getting less than $2 a hour, someone's running a sweat shop!!
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:44 AM   #56
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For us, "daycare" cost as much as the after-tax income of an experienced teacher. That's because my wife quit her teaching job to become a SAHM when she had our first.

That's about $30k annually in today's market. I figured that if she decided she wanted to go back to teaching, we could spend $30k on daycare and come out even.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:45 AM   #57
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My sister and I took English riding lessons because that was, as a practical matter, one of the few sports for girls in the 40s & 50s. The other reason was, as my Mother once said, it is good for girls to love horses because it keeps the boys at arm's length until good sense sets in. We weren't 'given' lessons, we had to earn the money to pay for them by doing extra chores at home and baby sitting in the neighborhood.

I gave up riding when I went to work in NYC, then pretty much abandoned the sport as a working wife and mother for financial and time reasons.

Riding isn't the sport of the wealthy in the NW, I doubt it costs more than skiing.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:50 AM   #58
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My sister and I took English riding lessons because that was, as a practical matter, one of the few sports for girls in the 40s & 50s. The other reason was, as my Mother once said, it is good for girls to love horses because it keeps the boys at arm's length until good sense sets in. We weren't 'given' lessons, we had to earn the money to pay for them by doing extra chores at home and baby sitting in the neighborhood.
I gave up riding when I went to work in NYC, then pretty much abandoned the sport as a working wife and mother for financial and time reasons.
Riding isn't the sport of the wealthy in the NW, I doubt it costs more than skiing.
Our daughter rode dressage for nearly four years. What a money-sucker, and we didn't even own a horse. We were able to cut costs quite a bit with sweat equity (and a Bangkok tailor) but yikes.

In the four years I was around the dressage scene, even the ultra-high-net-worth individuals were working to support their equestrian habits. I didn't know anyone who was ER'd.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:05 PM   #59
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My sister and I took English riding lessons because that was, as a practical matter, one of the few sports for girls in the 40s & 50s. The other reason was, as my Mother once said, it is good for girls to love horses because it keeps the boys at arm's length until good sense sets in. We weren't 'given' lessons, we had to earn the money to pay for them by doing extra chores at home and baby sitting in the neighborhood.

I gave up riding when I went to work in NYC, then pretty much abandoned the sport as a working wife and mother for financial and time reasons.

Riding isn't the sport of the wealthy in the NW, I doubt it costs more than skiing.
Interesting. I had not thought about the lack of sports for girls in the past. Such a huge difference from today!

We will likely have the kids try riding at least once, since we are kind of in horse country. I think they and I are more interested in the idea of a llama hike (the llama carries your stuff so you can go farther).
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:05 PM   #60
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We didn't own a horse either, we rented.

Skiing can be a money vacuum too. Add up transportation, lift tickets, lessons, equipment (which rarely lasts more than a season for growing children), and occasional travel costs... stunning. Many high schools in our area have ski teams so there can be peer pressure to participate.

Back to the original observation. Yes, kids are expensive in the era where two incomes are necessary for a middle class standard of living. One option is to change to multi-generational households where there are more adults willing and able to look after children. I don't see that happening in a mobile society.
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