I was attending my college re-union and a speaker just said that "Having an ebook reader is status quo". Apparently, it means that it is in vogue or in fashion.

I do not think it is the correct usage. But I am a bit confused. Can someone clarify?

2 Answers 2


Status Quo comes from the Latin statu quo which literally means "the state in which". Defined as

current or existing state of affairs

To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are.

Source: Wikipedia.org

So we have:

"Having an ebook reader is the way things presently are."

Given that, I'd say the speaker is grammatically correct, but misusing status quo.

But, if it that were correct, you would have to use the article the.

"Having an Ebook reader is the status quo"

I can't find that usage anywhere, either.

  • Even then it should be "the status quo"
    – mgb
    May 12, 2011 at 21:35
  • @Mike Vaughan: I can't upvote @Martin Becket because he doesn't clarify exactly what the status quo actually does mean, and how it's used. And I can't upvote you for the reason he's just commented against your answer. Between the two of you there is a whole answer, but EL&U doesn't support 'half-upvotes'. May 12, 2011 at 22:00
  • @FumbleFingers Thanks. Nice Catch, @Martin Beckett. I've added that to my answer. So we have a "whole answer". :) May 12, 2011 at 22:14
  • 1
    @Fumble: Just write, +.5 . . . if you want to see the other .5, listen to me very carefully. . . May 12, 2011 at 22:30
  • @MikeVaughan: I guess I should quit while I'm ahead, but I can't resist pointing out (for others, if not you) that I personally can't accept "Having an ebook reader is so way things presently are." as grammatically correct. I know you can follow so with just about anything and pretend it's an adjective of some kind, but that one seems beyond the pale to me. May 12, 2011 at 22:41

It's not the normal usage and I haven't heard it before - I would say they were wrong.
Of course if they are a particularly influential speaker it may become correct

"Having an ebook is the norm" or "Having an ebook is the standard" ?

  • Thanks! Why do you think it is not the normal usage?
    – Kanini
    May 12, 2011 at 21:36
  • First it should be "the status quo" (unless you talking about the band) and it generally refers to a bigger picture thing. eg. "General education is the status quo", not "using a calculator is the status quo"
    – mgb
    May 12, 2011 at 21:39

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