grammar correction chap 4.1 LFS 6.6

Chris Staub chris at
Thu Mar 11 23:41:41 PST 2010

On 03/12/2010 12:49 AM, stosss wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 7:08 PM, Chris Staub<chris at>  wrote:
> You are still wrong. Although there are multiple ways to use the su
> command, it is still unique. It is still the su command. Just because
> it can be used in various ways does not make it proper, according to
> the rules of grammar of the English language, to use the article "an".
> The only article that can properly be used with it or any other unique
> noun is "the".
> If those of you who are writing the books would be willing to let
> someone, who knows how to write using proper grammar, help with
> writing the books then maybe these kinds of mistakes would not be in
> the book. When mistakes are found and brought to your attention just
> accept the fact that it is a mistake and fix it rather than defend it.
> Defending garbage like this shows ignorance and contempt for the
> English language. If you were defending this nonsense in an English
> class, you would be laughed at by the rest of the class and you would
> get an F by the instructor. Now the whole world is your audience.

Cool it with the insults. I am quite aware of the grammar rules you are 
talking about. However the noun in question is not just "su" but "su 
command", and whether that should be used with "the" or "an" is also a 
question of the context it is used in - I do in fact know that yes, su 
is a specific command. However, it's not all about "su", but also what 
is meant by "command", given that it can refer either to just a specific 
program or an entire line. If by "command" you only mean "the su 
program" then yes, it is "the su command", as I see in manpages about 
"the su command". But (oh no, I'm breaking more grammar rules by 
starting a sentence with "but"!) if by "command" you are referring to 
the whole shell command line, of which su is a part, then there is 
certainly more than one, so it would be "an su command". You might have 
something resembling a point if you can find some kind of "official" 
definition of the word "command" that says it is used only to refer to a 
single program name. Otherwise, I believe it's clear that "an su 
command" would be perfectly valid (unless you're like Bruce and think 
it's "a su command" but then that goes back to my question about the 
"official" pronounciation).

Of course as I've said before, the whole debate could be rendered moot 
via Rewording From Scratch (RFS), such as "becoming root with su". Care 
to point out the grammar problems with that?

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