as ADJ of a N as

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Feb 20 17:52:11 UTC 2004

On Feb 20, 2004, at 4:02 AM, Lynne Murphy wrote:

> Another colleague has now found lots of instances of "as hell of a",
> leading him to wonder whether 'hell' has been reanalysed as an adj.
> That
> phrase is totally foreign to my dialect.  I'm guessing it's more
> Southern?
> (One of his e.g.s was from a John Prine song.)

new to me.  a wild guess is that it's a reanalysis of "a hell of a".

only with "as"?  not also with, say, "too" or "so"?  ("that hell of a"
would already be possible, with a somewhat different meaning.)

> Meanwhile....

[some fascinating quick googling on "Deg Adv of a" vs. "Deg Adv a".]

this sort of thing quickly gets addictive...

arnold (zwicky at

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