If I took the SATs and they marked something wrong that I thought was right and because of that I didn't get into Harvard so I sued that I wanted my SAT score increased because they were actually wrong and it was a antonym or something, then who would be the arbiter of what the language means?

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    Good question; the SAT's grammar rules certainly include some controversial ones. I don't know if anybody has ever tried suing, though. The first obstacle would be proving that your SAT score had anything to do with your rejection from Harvard. – Peter Shor Jan 3 '14 at 18:13
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    I'm not sure Joe can grammatically sue that [some statement]. But even if he could defend that usage, Harvard might win their case purely on the grounds that Joe is on record here as using inordinately long and hence clumsy phrasing. (Of course, if he's going into politics, that might be no bad thing! :) – FumbleFingers Jan 3 '14 at 18:44
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    The irony: If this question were part of an essay, it'd almost certainly get points off for not separating the independent clauses better. – cHao Jan 3 '14 at 19:47

There isn't one. You can quote established dictionaries, but there was recently something on the news about lawyers bringing entries of Urban Dictionary into trials. Language is evolving so fast that there really isn't anyone in charge of it.

  • Except, of course, for The Academy. – John Lawler Jan 3 '14 at 18:16
  • That's not the reason. There isn't an authority because there isn't an authority. Nothing to do with the speed of evolution. – Colin Fine Jan 4 '14 at 2:15

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