failures of parallelism (disjunctive division)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 10 19:26:51 UTC 2004

A related use of "any...not..." to the one Arnold mentioned was just
brought to my attention inadvertently by a colleague who sent me a
message containing the following prediction about a graduate student
from the colleague's country who is now studying in the U.S. (For
anonymity's sake, I have substituted "Krakhozhia(n)", a fictional
country and nationality in the current Spielberg/Hanks movie The
Terminal, for the actual country and nationality in question):

He, or any Krakhozhian,  won't return to Krakhozhia without a degree.

The writer of the letter is a native speaker of Krakhozhian, as it
were, but the "X or any...not..." construction strikes me as
perfectly natural (if by some standards not technically "correct")
English, and led me to google up the following brace of similar
disjunctions in which an "any" as the second element of a disjunction
co-occurs with a following negation:

If he, or anyone, can't play by the rules, they're outta here

Now, is there any way to make it so he or anyone can't change my
account back to limited?

I hate the fact that the guy I love is in so much pain and I, or
anyone, can't take his pain away

It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 2
to prove that he (or any agent or employee of his) did not knowingly

he or any member of his family within the second degree of
consanguinity or affinity has not been threatened

he (or any practising member firm with which he is associated) should notĀŠ

he or any other man may not set the party so arrested at liberty


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