The Corner

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Geoffrey Nunberg, the liberal linguist, thinks that the collective noun “elite” may be turning into an individual noun. He cites an example in which Laura Ingraham talked about “being an elite”–presumably an individual person’s “being an elite.” That usage rings false to me, although it may be hard to keep saying “a member of an elite” in a book-length discussion of elites. (I also tend to say that someone is “a member of a minority group” rather than “a minority,” but according to Nunberg that ship has sailed.)

Nunberg also cites at least one example from me. The citation is a bit confusing. His link takes you to one example, while his quote refers to another. I don’t think I’m using elite in the newfangled way he has in mind in either case; while I don’t remember what I had in mind and the sentences don’t rule out Nunberg’s interpretation, that’s just not the way I think of the word.

(Via Galley Slaves)