unfortunate Gapping

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Nov 7 20:48:11 UTC 2007

Ed Quackenbush pointed me to a Yahoo News piece on Britain's most
stupid laws --


of which #7 is the unfortunate Gapping in:

  The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically
becomes the property of the king, and the tail of the queen.

"of the queen" just wants to latch on to "the tail" as a
postmodifier, in which case "the tail of the queen" is understood to
be the second conjunct in a coordinate complement of "becomes".


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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