In honor of Leibniz’ first use of the big “S” in integral calculus (as seen above and reported in the Jewish World Review to have occurred on this date 335 years ago), I’d like to settle this controversy once and for all.
Which of these statements is correct?
I can’t go to prom, I have the calculus homework.
I can’t go to the prom, I have calculus homework.
Never mind that your high school dances were decades ago and your use of higher math completely forgotten, or even that both statements scream that you’re a serious geek and a very bad planner if math homework prevents you from attending the big night. It’s simply a matter of correct usage at this point, and has always bothered me.
While prom is short for the noun, promenade, meaning a ball or dance, it seems to be used in the first sentence as an infinitive form of the verb. If it were the object of the preposition, it would require the definite article the before prom. Wouldn’t it?
And how about that calculus? I read that it is called “the” calculus because it is shortened from the calculus of infinitesimals, but isn’t it simply a field of mathematical study? Like Algebra, or geometry.
I’m just curious.