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Fowler reads

The regular or ‘weak’ form thrived has won the centuries-old battle between irregular or ‘strong’ throve as past tense and thriven as past participle.

Is this usage of between grammatically correct?

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1 Answer 1

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Yes, it's grammatical. No, it's not semantically correct. The battle was between the weak form and the strong forms, while the sentence states the battle was between the two strong forms. You could use against, as you suggest, or reword the entire sentence.

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  • Could it not be semantically correct, if the intention was to say that a third party was the beneficiary of the battle? I'm imagining that for centuries there was debate between "throve" and "thriven", neither of them establishing themselves, thus making it possible for "thrived"(which had not been involved in that debate) to nip in and take root later.
    – Rupe
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 11:49
  • @Rupe That is not what the sentence says: " the centuries-old battle between irregular or ‘strong’ throve as past tense and thriven as past participle." Thrived is not one of the contenders. Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 5:16
  • That's what I mean by a "third party". I'm saying that one can claim that the party that emerged victorious at the end of a battle wasn't one of the parties directly involved in the battle. I appreciate that it's a non-standard, idiomatic way of saying things. My last sentence above was an attempt to explain in detail; I think it makes it clear that I understand who the "battle" was between ("which had not been involved...").
    – Rupe
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 11:42

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