failures of parallelism

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 10 02:55:54 UTC 2004

>--On Friday, July 9, 2004 2:05 PM -0700 "Arnold M. Zwicky"
><zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>>On Jul 5, 2004, at 1:23 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>...How about these truly negative ones, just googled up for our
>>>viewing pleasure:
>>>consider password protecting that directory so that anyone can't come
>>>and drop your tables
>>>"A customer will feel safer knowing that anyone
>>>can't just waltz into their place of business."
>>>But anyone can't solve that problem...
>>>The Reality as below: anyone can't do what they want to do/anyone
>>>can't be what they want to be/anyone can't say what they want to
>>>say/anyone can't feel what they want to feel
>>>Just anybody can't baptize anybody.
>>>People are looking for more substance in the music, but just anybody
>>>can't give
>>>it to them," Ice Cube told the Los Angeles Times
>>>But I still have to know the password so just anybody can't get on
>>>my desktop and start loading things.
>>>With the fiscal problems we have in Maryland, people are beginning to
>>>realize that
>>>just anybody can't be governor
>>"But anyone can't solve that problem" is a real baffler for me; i have
>>to stop and work out what someone might have been trying to convey by
>>the others are, to various degrees, better.  all except the first have
>>a "just" in them (and i understand the first as if it had a "just"),
>>which seems to improve things some, especially in the "just anybody"
>>i haven't tried to work out what's going on here; these are just gut
>>arnold (zwicky at
>I don't read "But anyone can't solve that problem" any differently than the
>other examples that seem to have a lurking "just."  It seems to me as if
>"just anyone" has evolved into something like a proper name, Just Anyone,
>in these contexts.  (Something like the ghostly Not Me who crops up from
>time to time in the Family Circus comic strip?)
>"[Just] Anyone can't solve that problem."
>"[John] Smith can't solve that problem."
I don't think the "just anyone" as proper name is the right take on
it.  For one thing, it's not just "just anyone", but "just anybody",
"just any Democrat", "just any linguist", etc. etc.  Furthermore, as
Alice and I were saying earlier, it's more the suprasegmentals that
are the key for getting these readings, although the "just" doesn't
hurt.  Similarly for disambiguating an object "any" in the scope of
negation:  You can't do (just) ANYthing around here.


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