Of its ilk, of their ilk?
Thread poster: SBlack
SBlack
French to English
+ ...
Jun 25, 2012

Although I find this definition for "ilk" at Oxford, "a type of person or thing similar to one already referred to", it feels strange to say "things of its ilk". I believe I have only ever heard the word used to describe "people of his/her ilk".

Have you ever heard "of its ilk" referring to a thing? Thanks.


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Annelise Brincker  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:24
English to Danish
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"Ilk" Jun 25, 2012

Could you use "of that ilk"?

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Kelly S
Ireland
Local time: 02:24
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Have heard referring to objects Jun 25, 2012

Agree with Annelise..I have most frequently heard things of "that ilk"..


Siobhan


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SBlack
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 25, 2012

Yes, that sounds more natural.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 25, 2012

It means type or kind and can be used the same way. Whether the collocation is with "its" or "their" depends on what the subject is. It tends to sound/ come across slightly negative:
"I can't stand Politicians and their ilk..."
"I am wary of Tony Blair and his ilk..."
"We must protect ourselves from the monster and its ilk, Dr. Van Helsing... "

etc etc. No mystery. If you feel uncomfortable using it, I'd say the best bet is to avoid it.

(I use it all the time, since I like its rather old-fashioned feel)

[Edited at 2012-06-25 08:49 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
In family names Jun 25, 2012

Annelise Brincker wrote:

Could you use "of that ilk"?


Yes, in certain circumstances, you could. In fact I it is used as part of a family name or title in Scotland, e.g.:
MacLeod of that Ilk - Clan MacLeod Societies
www.clanmacleod.org/.../macleod-of-that-ilk.ht...
MacLeod of that Ilk Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie
(from Baronage of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1798, pp. 374-375). [Note: all spellings are as they appear in ...


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Annelise Brincker  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:24
English to Danish
+ ...
Ilk Jun 25, 2012

Yep, I know. My husband is Scottish. I also just meant if SBlack could use it in this context.

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SBlack
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 25, 2012

Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Either Jun 25, 2012

SBlack wrote:

Although I find this definition for "ilk" at Oxford, "a type of person or thing similar to one already referred to", it feels strange to say "things of its ilk". I believe I have only ever heard the word used to describe "people of his/her ilk".

Have you ever heard "of its ilk" referring to a thing? Thanks.


Either is fine. It depends on the context, i.e. if you're referring to something in the singular or the plural.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 10:24
Chinese to English
I have the same feeling as SBlack Jun 25, 2012

its ilk sounds a little bit less natural than their ilk or that ilk. I think it's a semantic disconnect: ilk is a type (a set). To define a set you definitely need more than one example. Grammatically, its is fine, but semantically you'd have to look at the context to see if it works.

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Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
those of my ilk Jun 25, 2012

And what if you turned out to be the first person ever to use the expression "its ilk"? At some point, some individual was the first person ever to use the expression "their (&c) ilk".

Having said that, ilk does seem to be a lot more common in the plural than in the singular.

Every word or expression that has ever existed in the entire history of human speech, originated in the mind of an individual person at a specific pinpoint in time.


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Sian Cooper  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:24
French to English
+ ...
Takes the value from the object Jun 27, 2012

You can say 'its ilk', 'their ilk', 'his ilk', 'our ilk'... it entirely depends on the object under discussion, for which 'its', 'their' etc. is the possessive pronoun. And yes, it is often used in a negative context, but not necessarily.

'I do not mix with Bert or people of his ilk'
'I do not like broccoli or vegetables of its ilk'
'I love the Ring trilogy and books of their ilk'
'We, and people of our ilk, travel to Stonehenge every year for the Summer Solstice'

etc.

Yes, Scottish has a specific use pertaining to place or name (and actually it is of course originally a Scottish word; the English usage as above is an evolution from it; or, as the SOED puts it 'a misunderstanding').


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