"Q: "show me out [something]" = show to me?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 7 15:13:29 UTC 2008

> > On Feb 6, 2008, at 8:47 AM, Andrea Morrow wrote:
>> Yes, that is how it seems to me, too - of the same type of
> >> construction as "show me out the door,"  meaning "walk with me to the
> >> door."

On Feb 6, 2008, at 1:28 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> also the reading i got.  i can't get "show out" as a dative verb, with
> > any of the variants --
> >    *show out the problems to me / *show out to me the problems
> >    *show me out the problems
> >
> > and google provides no credible examples.  "point out" works, though:
> >    point out the problems to me / point out to me the problems
> >    point me out the problems
> > (the last one seems very awkward to me, but there are quite a few
> > relevant examples you can google up via {"point me out a"}.)
> >
> > plain "show" is, of course, usable as a dative verb.

On Feb 7, 2008 2:30 AM, Sarah Lang <slang at uchicago.edu> wrote:

> Agreed. (Bonus points for Buffy.)
> The dative in this case (esp thinking of the date, and the rather
> often Latinate nature of English at that point) could be a hangover
> use of the Dative of Direction (rare use, I know, but still
> documented); or, again, if I am to think of a Latin construction, it
> seems like a pretty standard (English) awkward use/translation of the
> ablative.

Am I missing something? Arnold is saying that "show me out the postern" is
NOT a dative. "Show PERSON PREPOSITION (PLACE)" is an idiomatic
construction, not analytically derivable from "show PERSON OBJECT",
comparable IMHO to "walk/drive PERSON PREPOSITION (PLACE)".

   - Show him in / into the waiting room
   - Show him out / out the door / out the back way / off the premises

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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