A little exchange on a Latin listserv:
>I also use absolutes in English, and our Freshman English teacher even teaches them formally.
> That being said, I *do* recognize that it sounds more archaic each year, even as does the correct use of “whom.”
>>Apparently, I am deeply in the minority here.
>>*I* do talk like that.  I use the “having been —-ed” phrase all the  time
>>in everyday life.
>>It doesn’t sound strained or “off” at all to me.
But the “correct” use of ’whom’ was deemed archaic in a book on English written in 1936. In fact, I would be inclined to ask someone who used it why they were using it. What is the point? We don’t use the objective/oblique case of nouns any more or of most pronouns. Why ’whom’?
I had answered the second one thus:
Again, it is a matter of register. You speak habitually in a highe register
than most people. That’s perfectly fine. No criticism is intended, even
though people often do take offense at being told their speech is that of a

I switch registers in the classroom all the time in order to make students
aware of the necessity for educated people to be able to do that. Most of us
can use all 3 (that’s the usual number, kind of a non-standard, then
standard colloquial, then formal: 1,2,3), but uneducated people generally
cannot use either 2 or 3 and many people who can use 2 cannot reach 3.

Again, that’s entirely to be expected and is not a condemnation of anyone’s
speech. Level 1, R-1, has all the characteristics of powerful, expressive
language and attempts to label it unclear, imprecise, and illogical utterly
fail. The only area in which R-3 is superior is in its rich vocabulary, but
R-1 has good vocabulary resources as well, though not as rich and varied as

One feature of R-3 in English is its reliance on Latin models. In the case
we are discussing, I imagine that the “…having been followed all day by
the sun……..” construction derives from its use in translating the Latin

I would like someone to recommend a book to me that discusses in detail the
way Latin uses participles, much as Sanskrit does and which is expressed
often by the “…having been Xed….”, in a way that gives Latin
compositions a special flavor.

Am I the only one who gets a whiff of smug superiority among the users of ’absolutes” and “whom”? After all, you do have to work to talk like that and most sensible people ignore it, so I guess you get to belong to this elite little group of language snobs who sniff when someone takes notice of them speaking formal English in a pool hall.

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