Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



This thesis examines the developing paradigm of General Semantics, specifically as affected by the theory of E-Prime. Since 1965, D. David Bourland's theory of E-Prime has aroused the interest of many people across the United States. It has also instigated much controversy. Within the General Semantics community, some members condemn E-Prime because of its purported blaspheming of the discipline's fundamental beliefs, as developed by Count Alfred Korzybski. Outside of General Semantics, skeptics working within diverse disciplines variously ground their opposition to E-Prime in areas such as linguistics and sociology, failing to carefully examine E-Prime's relationship to and real implications for General Semantics. In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn explores the importance of paradigms in scientific process. He sees the various phenomena associated with communities of researchers as pivotal in the direction eventually taken by the majority of persons within an area of study. Membership in one social-academic group or another influences and often preempts research procedures as well as interpretations of results. As a science, General Semantics follows the process, as articulated by Kuhn, of looking for model problems and model solutions. In applying Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions to the development of E-Prime, this thesis not only tracks the development of both General Semantics and E-Prime to this point, but also analyzes the reasons for existing skepticism toward and emphatic rejection of the emerging paradigm.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Bourland, D. David (Delphus David), 1928-2000
Korzybski, Alfred, 1879-1950
General semantics
English language -- Verb
English language -- Semantics



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University