Weird comparative now fit to print

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 22 19:56:58 UTC 2008

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 3:28 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky
<zwicky at> wrote:

>  plus several types that MWDEU treats as syntactic blends:

>    _hardly/scarcely/barely_ Clause ... than Clause (Hardly had I
>  entered the room than the children began screaming) [deprecated, but
>  at least verging on standard; "when" is prescribed instead of "than"

>  -- but for "no sooner", "when" is prescribed and "than" deprecated]
>    disjunction of equative and comparative: as good as or _better_
>  than X [deprecated as non-parallel, but verging on standard; in any
>  case, this is just straightforward comparison as far as "than" is
>  concerned]

Perseveration error? I'd've expected "no sooner ... THAN" to be
prescribed, and "no sooner...WHEN" deprecated.

>  clearly, to look at the many google hits for "later than sooner" (and
>  removing the cases of "better later than sooner") and the gigantic
>  number of hits for "sooner than later" (again, with "better"
>  excluded), plus some for "earlier than later". and a scattering of
>  others, like:
>    Three times in the washer and my favorite jeans starts to become
>  droopy in the ****. Yes you are probably right. Most of my clothes get
>  bigger than smaller. ...
>  there are even a few cases not involving comparatives:
>    You liberals pick and choose just like some conversatives when you
>  want big than smallgovt.. The gov't shouldn't be getting involved with
>  Marriage. ...
>  2008-presidential-election/TAIHIVR2OG9PLMK2O/p2
>    I have to be where I can work with something small than big to
>  build up my own self. It isn't a trick.

I see typoing "then" => "than" as a pretty good candidate cause for
the second and third of these, and possibly the first as well.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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