"conducive to"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Apr 23 17:42:37 UTC 2008

in a NYT story today about the Union Park development planned for Las
Vegas, a quote (p. A14 in the national edition) from Dave Hickey,
culture critic for Vanity Fair:

"The idea is that they're going to put in these public buildings and
this is going to make a respectful downtown for Las Vegas without all
the glitz and glamour, I guess, but I think it'll be a ghost town,"
Mr. Hickey said.  "I don't see how the comings and goings will be
facilitated.  And those open spaces that landscape architects so love
are not really conducive to the desert climate."

those open spaces do not make the desert climate likely or possible?
absolutely not.  it's not that it's backwards: "the desert climate is
not really conducive to those open spaces" isn't any better.  so it's
a word choice problem, either a classical malapropism or an
inadvertent error in lexical retrieval.  but as so often is the case
with wonky word choices, i'm having troubling thinking of what he
*should* have said.  maybe "compatible" instead of "conducive" -- and
once you've selected the adjective you get the preposition ("to") that
goes along with it.  any better suggestions?


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