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

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Feb 10 17:41:34 UTC 2008

On Feb 10, 2008, at 9:12 AM, Damien Hall wrote:

> If Doeg had meant 'escort me to / through the postern', how likely
> is it that he
> would have said 'shew me out ___ the postern' (which he did say) and
> not 'shew
> me out of the postern'?  That is:
> - Do you think that the version without 'of' is less formal than the
> version
> with 'of'?  That's certainly how it strikes me.  (cf 'He walked out
> (of) the
> door' and other parallel sentences, where, to me, the variation
> creates the
> same effect.)
> - If so, is such a degree of informality likely to appear in a play
> written on a
> Biblical (sc. serious) subject by a clergyman?  I don't think it is.
> - Thirdly, does the 'of-less' variant of the construction date back
> to 1845 in
> any case?  (It may well - I am continually surprised by the early
> datings of
> constructions I had thought of as modern - but there's still the
> point about
> informality.)

on the modern situation for OUT OF:

MWDEU (p.702): A few commentators observe that the of is superfluous
most of the time, or sometimes—depending on whose opinion you are
reading—when out is used with verbs of motion.  The observation,
however, is not especially useful, for out and out of are
interchangeable only in a very few restricted contexts; out simply
cannot be substituted for out of in most cases.

the OED has older cites for plain OUT that are now non-standard
(things along the lines of "He walked out the house").  it looks like
plain OUT has been contracting in its usage.


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

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