a whole other question

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Thu Oct 10 17:41:06 UTC 2002

I agree with the reanalysis judgment (vs. infixing)--but more seriously,
why does the slogan bother you so much?  And yes, even we "articulate"
Ohioans use both versions of the phrase, whether we're word mavens or
not.  It survives because it's useful.

Beverly Flanigan
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Ohio University

At 05:00 PM 10/9/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>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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