killed to death

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 20 14:01:34 UTC 2008

Could be a translation from the Chinese, Korean, Hindi, etc. where
lexical causative verbs (e.g. "kill") don't entail their result state
(without an explicit resultative adverb or secondary verb, e.g. "to
death").  I've always thought English was not such a language, but
perhaps that's changing.  There are 39,800 purported hits for "killed
to death" and another 47,000 for "killed dead".


At 9:17 AM -0400 4/20/08, Mark Mandel wrote:
>On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM, Barnhart <barnhart at> wrote:
>>  Seen on the Web (where else):
>>   "Sandra Bullock Almost Killed To Death By Drugged-Up Driver"
>>   Regards,
>>   David B
>And the first three comments there are:
>#   Mike Says:
>April 20th, 2008 at 1:21 p
>Killed to death? You are exceptionally stupid are'nt you?
>Never heard of anybody ever killed to less than death, I need to get
>out more apparently.
># Howie Says:
>April 20th, 2008 at 1:25 pm
>"Almost Killed To Death"? Typical of the poor writing in this rag. Why
>not raise the bar and only use writers who actually graduated from
>elementary school?
># John Selle Says:
>April 20th, 2008 at 1:27 pm
>Almost killed to death?
>I couldn't bring myself to read your article but I certainly had to
>comment on your writing skills. Not good.
>Mark Mandel
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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