Mark Siddall mes at
Sun Jan 22 14:19:45 EST 1995

In article <D2t2A5.627 at> colinc at ("Colin Cracknell") writes:
>This may seem an odd place in which to ask a grammatical question, but 
>which of the following is (are?) correct?
>        1) Diptera is a taxon.

Correct - here Diptera is a proper noun refering to a natural group.  

>        2) Diptera are a taxon.

Incorrect - if only for the apposition of "are" and "a".  Could be
re-written as Diptera are in a taxon.

>        3) "Diptera" is a taxon.

Arguably indistinguishable from (1) but correct.

>In the first case, a taxon is a set of organisms. In the second case, a 
>taxon is the organisms in a set, and n the third case a taxon is the 
>*name* of a set of organisms.
>colinc at | "Specialisation is for insects" [RAH]
>                           | "I specialise in insects" [ColinC]
>All opinions are my own, but Darter Systems agrees with me.

Mark E. Siddall                "I don't mind a parasite...
mes at                    I object to a cut-rate one" 
Virginia Inst. Marine Sci.                     - Rick
Gloucester Point, VA, 23062

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