"the listening-to of Christmas music"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 1 21:32:48 UTC 2008

In my youth in the 'Forties and 'Fifties, people used to pompously
intone strings like "the listening-to of Christmas music" for laughs.
They sounded really hilariously wrong. Nowadays, people use such
constructions so often that I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone
younger than thirty finds anything unusual about them. Certainly, such
strings are easily  generated and easily understood.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 4:11 PM, Your Name <ROSESKES at aol.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Your Name <ROSESKES at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      "the listening-to of Christmas music"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I just heard a radio DJ say, "Dec. 1 ushers in for me two things: the
> consumption of eggnog, and the listening-to of Christmas music."  I'm  trying to
> figure out if that last phrase is grammatically correct?  And if  so, am I
> correct in hyphenating "listening-to" in this context?
> Rosemarie
> First things first - but not necessarily in  that order!
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