"all" = very; quite

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Oct 17 22:45:51 UTC 2005

On Oct 16, 2005, at 7:26 PM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> Maybe one could force-fit this adverbial "all" into OED def. 2, but
> I doubt it. It's absurdly common in speech, and has been for decades.
> 1993           http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.folk/
> browse_frm/thread/edb973b564500555/ed7aeb5f7bef3ebf?
> lnk=st&q=YGBSM&rnum=675#ed7aeb5f7bef3ebf  (Feb. 11) :  Does anyone
> know where I can find a "Wild Weasel" patch that has the little
> weasel looking all worried and the inscription of "You Gotta Be
> Shitting Me" on it.

according to the local authorities, isa buchstaller and elizabeth
traugott (who gave a paper on this topic at the recent SHEL
conference), intensifier "all" with participles and AdjPs has been
around since OE.  then with PPs (12th century) and NPs (17th
century).  what *is* genuinely recent is intensifier "all" with
tensed verbs:
   She all walks in.
   Yeah I all screamed when we hit the skunk...


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