successor = 'predecessor'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Dec 17 15:53:28 UTC 2007

I'm starting to feel like T. H. White's Merlin - livin' backward in time!


Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Charles Doyle
Subject: successor = 'predecessor'

It's somewhat like the confusion of "ancestor" with "descendant"--

In yesterday's newspaper an AP story by Hillary Rhodes reported that the name "Emma" for new babies, after three years in first place, has been overtaken by "Sophia" and "Isabella":

"Sophia has more of a Latin or continental appeal than its proper English successor, Emma" (_Athens [GA] Banner-Herald_, E12).

Unlike the "ancestor"/"descendant" pair, however, "successor" and "predecessor" do have the same root word--a circumstance that might contribute to their confusability.


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