a whole other question

Yerkes, Susan SYerkes at EXPRESS-NEWS.NET
Wed Oct 9 22:00:42 UTC 2002

Dear word mavens on this highly interesting list-serve:

I'm a newspaper columnist in San Antonio, Texas, who reads religiously and
seldom can contribute. Now I have the gall to ask for your insight, to boot.

I've been writing about Texas' most recent initiative to boost tourism...a
special license plate can now be purchased featuring one of the hoariest
state slogans the tourism bureaucrats can come up with. It is:

"Texas.  A Whole Other Country."

Aside from the inappropriate period (but it might make some squeamish to put
a colon in a tourism slogan)
I am  intrigued by the use of "a whole other"
in an official slogan. (Not to mention appalled to think it will soon grace
the license plates of those who want to pay extra for the distinction)

I have heard people use the construction "a whole other....." occasionally,
and just the other day (not the whole other day, however) an articulate
Ohioan used it in a sentence over the phone, which surprised me.

Some of my colleagues say they'd like it better if it was "a whole
I assume that colloquialism really splits "another" into two, putting the
word "whole" in there for emphasis.
I further assume that "A whole OTHER" is a variation on the above. But is it
new? Who started it, and is there any explicable reason for its survival as
a colloquial phrase?

Have y'all (as we say) ever addressed this? Is it an appropriate question
for this list? And if so, any comments on the usage, variation and/or
acceptability of  the phrase?

Thanks in advance for your consideration --
Susan Yerkes
San Antonio Express-News
fax: 210-250-3405
direct phone: 250-3455

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