Friday, May 23, 2008

Determined to get into the OED

For some time there was a fair bit of debate over at en.wiktionary about whether to list words such as all, most, every, this, etc. as adjectives or determiners. (It seems that I have finally succeeded in having them all accepted as determiners, though it hasn't gone to a vote.) One of the arguments against was that other dictionaries, including the OED don't use determiner as a class of words.

Well, it does now. I just discovered by chance that a number of words in the March 2008 draft revisions happen to fall into this category. The entry for many, for instance, is as follows:

A. adj. (determiner). Designating a large (indefinite) number.
The word retains a more generally adjectival character (‘numerous’) when used predicatively (senses A. 1c, A. 2c) or after another determiner (e.g. ‘my many lives’). 1. Used distributively with a singular noun or pronoun (formerly sometimes with plural concord).

Much is the same, while other entries, such as every from the 1989 edition, are not marked as determiners.

Now, I'd just go ahead and take that old adj. out of there, but change is slow and I think the OED deserves kudos for going this far.

No comments: