Odd dummy subject markers

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Apr 3 18:48:36 UTC 2006

A Southerner myself, I find Ron's example pretty normal-
sounding (though obviously in need of editing if it's to be
presented in formal writing!).

"In the Bible it says that . . ." would sound REALLY
normal . . . .


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 14:10:30 EDT
>From: RonButters at AOL.COM
>Subject: Odd dummy subject markers
>---------------------- Information from the mail header ----
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-
>Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
>Subject:      Odd dummy subject markers
>A graduate student writes (in a paper on the semiotics of
ethnic restaurant
>"On the sign it features a checkerboard pattern implying a
>whereas on the building it is simply a solid green line
surrounded by yellow."
>I'm used to Southern substitution of "it" for "there," as
in the second
>clause, but the "it" in the first clause seems weird to me.
Is there some matter of
>emphasis here that is different from simply saying, "The
sign features a
>checkerboard ... "? Or is the author just responding to the
feeling that he cannot
>have a sentence with a noun-phrase "subject" that is
overtly marked by a

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