A pair pants/ next store vs next door

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Jun 21 16:09:38 UTC 2002

In a message dated 6/21/02 1:04:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU writes:

> The "next store" one sounds like one of those
>  "plausible" stories circulated on the internet, but he swears it really
>  happened.  <snip>
>  On Wed, 19 Jun 2002, Robert Houston wrote:
>  Dear Rudy,
>          Reminds me of the time I was trying to get my class to learn to
> write
>  "a couple of things," vs. "a couple things." by saying to them, "After all,
>  you don't say 'a pair pants,' do you?"  One poor kid from NYC looked
>  stricken and said, "I say that.  Is it wrong?"

An elementary school teacher of mine told about the kid from some backwoods
area whose grammar was, shall we say, somewhere below substandard.  One day
he got an A on a (presumably multiple choice) English test.  When asked how
he did it, he said he looked at all the answers and picked the one that
sounded least right to him.

>  And that ranks up there with the freshman girl from Brooklyn who was raised
>  in an apartment above her parents' Italian grocery store, on a street
>  where all her neighbors lived in like circumstances.  Until I found that
>  about her, I was going nuts trying to figure out why she keep writing
>  "next store" for "next door."

Unlike alligators in the New York sewers, I cannot see anything implausible
in this story.  As a kid I was convinced "next store" was the proper term and
had to be talked into believing it was "next door".  I was also sure that
people said they were going to do such and such "the safternoon".

                        - Jim Landau (hopefully with adult speech patterns

P.S.  Did I just say that New York alligators don't believe people live over
grocery stores?

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