/ Advice from grammar pedants: to reconvene?

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Postmanpat 09 Aug 2019

    I had arranged to meet a friend but the meeting got postponed.

I said (well e-mailed actually) "Let's reconvene for next week". He replied that "we can't reconvene because we haven't met".

  My argument is that, depending on which dictionary you use, "convene" can mean either the act of meeting or the arrangement of that act, so to "reconvene" in the sense of "rearrange" is a correct usage in this case.

  Thoughts? i.e.please confirm that I am right

Post edited at 09:29
Rob Exile Ward 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I think the grammatically correct and generally approved response to such a reply is

'Why don't you just f*ck off, smart a*se.' 

1
wercat 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

re-convene in my understanding means to resume convention, something (e.g.) that can be said during a meeting that is ending or going into abeyance

MG 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

I think you need to clarify whether your meeting was pre-planned and pre-prepared or not first.

John2 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

My own tuppence worth is that I would be unlikely to suggest reconvening unless I was currently in the meeting that was being reconvened.

Etymologically, convene means 'come together', so if you haven't come together for the first time you can't do it again.

Try reschedule.

cb294 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Reconvene next week, reschedule for next week?

CB

John W 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

No need for the “for” in your original email.

Coel Hellier 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Since you asked for pedantry:

You need advice from semantic pedants (what words mean) not grammar pedants (how words are strung together in sentences). 

jcw 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

etymologically two Latin words come  and together plus a prefix indicating again. Convention is another derivative, a meeting  together. If he is a friend, it is logical to suppose you had met before so reconvene is entirely appropriate. 

deepsoup 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

>  i.e.please confirm that I am right

You're asking on the wrong forum for that! ;-)

Hm.  Borderline.  I don't think you are, but it's all nuance innit.

I have to resist the urge to be that guy quite regularly - I get work-related emails asking if I'm available on a certain date but there's one person who always asks me to "confirm my availability" (for dates that he's never mentioned to me before).

TobyA 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

You're wrong, he's right. That was simple wasn't it.

"try again" or "reschedule".

I'm currently doing a lot of staring out my window to the west, and also staring at my back patio to see if it is drying at all. I have a plan with another UKCer to pop out to Horseshoe and see if we can do a few routes before the next rain rolls in. We are texting to reschedule what time we should meet there. We can't reconvene as we haven't got there and got rained off, yet!

Gordon Stainforth 09 Aug 2019
In reply to cb294:

> Reconvene next week, reschedule for next week?

> CB

Yes, reschedule is surely much better because it's totally unambiguous. Old principle: if a word's giving trouble, or doesn't seem quite right, change it

cb294 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Reconvene seems fine, but it is something people do (i.e., meet again), which is why you cannot do it "for" next week.

CB

Gordon Stainforth 09 Aug 2019
In reply to cb294:

I thought the original poster said "reconvene" has two meanings, one of which is "rearrange"?

cb294 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Never heard that one,

CB

Dave Garnett 09 Aug 2019
In reply to jcw:

> If he is a friend, it is logical to suppose you had met before so reconvene is entirely appropriate. 

That makes sense, as long as he’s an old Roman friend, I suppose!

Welsh Kate 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Reconvene originates from the Latin prefix re (meaning to do something again), and convenire (to meet, gather, muster, get together). Etymologically, you are correct - you're getting together again, not necessarily referring to a specific meeting that didn't happen, but more generally in the longer scheme of things.

In terms of normal English practice, he may have a point.

As others have suggested, cutting the Gordian knot by using another word, may be the best option!

Post edited at 11:33
Yanis Nayu 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

That’s the Brexit Party for you...

wercat 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Welsh Kate:

In this context it is strongly arguable that the "convention" is a particular coming together and therefore the re-convenience should be in that context.  If the context is a continuing series of particular conventions then it might be possible to stretch a point and conveniently use this term.  However, if the original meeting that was postponed was to have been an individual transaction or intercourse then it can't really be re-convened.

Post edited at 13:52
aln 09 Aug 2019
In reply to John2:

> if you haven't come together

Is Postmanpat that close to his friend?

Pete Pozman 12 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

When one convenes a meeting one arranges it 

When the planned meeting doesn't occur then one could reconvene it. 

wercat 13 Aug 2019
In reply to Pete Pozman:

Isn't the actual opening of the meeting by those who do attend the moment of "convention"?  The Convenient Moment, one might say, unless the whole event is held within a convenience, public or otherwise.

Post edited at 08:43
Postmanpat 13 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

According to the Oxford learners dictionary (and others) there are transitive and intransitive uses of the word convene:

transitive- convene something: to arrange for people to come together for a formal meeting

intransitive- to come together for a formal meeting

  Thus, if using the transitive version, it must be valid to use "reconvene" in the sense of reschedule or rearrange.

Post edited at 09:20
Pete Pozman 14 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

What is a convener; a person who attends a meeting or a person who arranges it? I'd suggest that the intransitive usage would be wrong, or arcane, in that case. 

MG 14 Aug 2019
In reply to Pete Pozman:

In Scotland it means the chair of the meeting 

john arran 14 Aug 2019
In reply to Pete Pozman:

To me, convening a meeting is the bringing together of people for a meeting.

To convene a meeting for next week is to bring people together to meet next week. If plans change and you can't meet until next month I'd say the convening of the meeting needs to be postponed or rescheduled. Reconvening a meeting suggests bringing people together again for a continuation of their talks, with the implication they've already met and started.

I daresay PMP might be able to find a dictionary definition that can be interpreted the way he's angling for, but it seems to me that the main objective in doing so would be to prove himself right on a technicality rather than to show that his use of the word was in any way effective communication through suitable language choice. 

Postmanpat 14 Aug 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I daresay PMP might be able to find a dictionary definition that can be interpreted the way he's angling for, but it seems to me that the main objective in doing so would be to prove himself right on a technicality rather than to show that his use of the word was in any way effective communication through suitable language choice. 

>

  Well, obviously! I have happily agreed with my friend that rearrange or reschedule would be  more normal and less controversial usage and therefore better. The question is whether reconvene is actually wrong (I think the meaning of it is clear in this case and is therefore effective communication).

John2 14 Aug 2019
In reply to Postmanpat:

Actually the full Oxford English Dictionary says that reconvene can be either transitive of intransitive, so I am forced to agree with you. It's a word that has evolved through usage from its original meaning. Just never say 'attendee' please.

deepsoup 14 Aug 2019
In reply to John2:

The Oxford English Dictionary records usage though, without judgement on whether such usage is correct or not.  Finding the definition you want in there doesn't necessarily mean you're right, it may just mean you're not alone in getting it wrong.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10240917/Uproar-as-OED-includes-erroneous-use-of-literally.html

MG 14 Aug 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Or it means you have the wrong definition of wrong!


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