"should have done"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 8 17:18:10 UTC 2005

Orin's "prolixity parallel" astounds me.

  Dialect diffrences are not only stranger than we imagine, they are stranger than we can imagine.


Orin Hargraves <orinkh at CARR.ORG> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Orin Hargraves
Subject: Re: "should have done"

> Here's an example, in the present tense, from an influential source
usually regarded as "dignified prose" :
> 1643 J. Milton _Areopagetica_ para. 26 :
> We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do, till
her Master’s second coming.
> This construction, to me, remains quite as odd as "positive _anymore_."
My impression is that Brits always prefer some form of "do" as a placeholder
in this sort of anaphoric construction, just as Americans prefer to leave it
out -- I also address the matter in my book on Am/Brit differences under
"Variable Ellipsis of Predicates."

Perhaps there is a slight parallel (of prolixity) in Brits' habit of using
possessive adj + pronoun in constructions where Americans use only a
possessive pronoun, i.e., Brit "Your one is bigger than my one" as opposed to
Yank "yours is bigger than mine."

Orin Hargraves

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