X to Y: Recency illusion?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Apr 29 17:59:55 UTC 2008

On Apr 29, 2008, at 6:50 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> I don't believe Arnold was claiming that "Time was..." is something
> new (as his point about clippings was independent of Neal's question
> about the recency of the "X to Y" construction).

i was not suggesting that "time was" is new.

> And indeed it's
> pretty old...


my point about clippings could have been made just from "X is", where
X is a "thingy noun".  i have a file with examples of this sort with:
fact, point, problem, thing, trouble, truth.  plus "chances are".  the
OED has relevant examples of "the thing is" back to 1873 (Matthew
Arnold), but none for the truncated version.


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