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Conventional grammar

Which is grammatically correct?

at the Eastercon
7(8.8%)
at Eastercon
69(86.2%)
(What is this "Eastercon" you keep going on about?)
4(5.0%)


To keep this poll simpler: take as read that whether or not it needs a definite article for this year, it'll be "an Eastercon" speaking more generally.

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Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
hungry_pixel
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
"Eastercon" is a name masquerading as a description. It's not "The Easter Convention", which would imply there was also (for example) a Solsticecon, a YomKippurCon, a Ramanavamicon etc. Just as you wouldn't say "I'm going to the York", you wouldn't say "I'm going to the Eastercon"!
owlfish
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
There have been just enough uses of "the" in this case in various peoples' convention reports, that I wanted to know more about what kinds of people/in what contexts it was used that way.

(Although I realize this poll will only the question of people, not contexts.)

Edited at 2012-04-18 12:10 pm (UTC)
tisiphone
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
Fen being fen, however, there is a Westercon, Northwestercon, etc.
tisiphone
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I don't think either of them are grammatically incorrect. "At Eastercon" is perfectly acceptable, as it is a singular event temporarily fixed in space and thus acts as a proper noun ("at Disney World"). On the other hand, "at the Eastercon" is also correct, since it implicitly refers to a single incidence of an event that is not fixed in time and thus could be considered a class of objects, i.e. not a proper noun ("at the 2012 Olympics"). Personally, I'd probably use "at Eastercon," unless I was referring explicitly to a specific one ("at the 2012 Eastercon").
owlfish
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC)
A quick Google search yields about half as many results for "at the Eastercon" as "at Eastercon".

Some of those hits are for specific instances, i.e. "The winning bid is chosen by a vote among the people who attend the bid session at the Eastercon two years in advance"

But many mean it more generally.
"At the Eastercon there is an Art Show"
"The BSFA lecture is intended as a companion to the George Hay Lecture presented at the Eastercon by the Science Fiction Foundation"
"there's almost always a real ale bar at the eastercon"
cartesiandaemon
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:35 pm (UTC)
Hm. I wonder if the usage varies for other cons that sound more like a name or more like a generic descriptor.

(I'd say "did you go to the 2005 Eastercon" but "did you go to Eastercon this year?", but I don't know if I can justify it gramatically.)
tisiphone
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Arisia is firmly "at Arisia", never "at the Arisia". (Maaayyyybe "at the 2013 Arisia", but more commonly I've heard "at Arisia in 2013.")
drplokta
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC)
I was at the Eastercon in 1983. I'm going to be at Eastercon next year. It takes an article when being used as a generic term for one in a series, but not when being used to refer to the current/forthcoming one specifically.
nmg
Apr. 18th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
This usage exactly matches my own.
swisstone
Apr. 18th, 2012 02:34 pm (UTC)
I'd modify that to say that whenever you add a descriptive word or phrase, either before or after, you would tend to use the article, e.g. 'the 1994 Eastercon', 'the last Eastercon', 'the Eastercon at Bradford'. But 'I was at Eastercon'. Clearly when you say 'I will be at Eastercon next year' you are referring to a specific Eastercon.
a_d_medievalist
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
I also didn't answer, because it's not a question of grammar, per se. My own opinion is along the lines of drplotka and "lj user="tisiphone">, but slightly different. My friends who regularly attend say they are going "to Eastercon", which has always implied to me that it is a proper name, in spirit and usage, if not in fact. If I heard it, I would automatically connect it to a con regularly held in England on Easter weekend. Otherwise, it would be 'an' Easter con, perhaps, but more likely a con at Easter.

So in drplotka's example, I infer that the article has been dropped because 1983 was a very early one, before the con became an institution. By becoming an institution, tisiphone's analogy of Disneyworld (am I the only person who thinks about Disneyland as the first choice?) works perfectly.
drplokta
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
No, 1983 was just my first Eastercon, so I used it as an example. It was the 34th Eastercon (small print may apply to this number, but it's not relevant), so it was already a venerable institution by that point.
nmg
Apr. 18th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
More to the point, the 1983 Eastercon was Albacon II. In any given year, the Eastercon will have a name other than "Eastercon"; talking about "going to Eastercon this year" could be viewed as shorthand for saying "going to the Eastercon this year, the name of which I have forgotten".
tisiphone
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't choose Disneyland because it's not unique, there's a bunch of them, so it'd be reasonable to say "at the Paris Disneyland" but not "at the Disneyworld".
hano
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:35 pm (UTC)
Does the fact that 'Eastercon' is also a trademark these days make any difference?
la_marquise_de_
Apr. 18th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
'at Eastercon' with reference to a specific Eastercon; 'at the Eastercon' when I'm generalizing about them ('I ran into J at Eastercon' as opposed to 'There's usually real ale at the Eastercon')
lil_shepherd
Apr. 18th, 2012 02:42 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think both are correct...
owlfish
Apr. 18th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thus there are check boxes and not radio buttons on this poll.
lil_shepherd
Apr. 18th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, but what use is a vote for both candidates?
daisho
Apr. 19th, 2012 06:56 am (UTC)
As I've often said to my reporters, this is a question of style rather than grammar. :)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )