Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Feb 22 21:19:38 UTC 2008

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 4:03 PM, Doug Harris <cats22 at> wrote:
> from a NYT book review I just received:
> Steven Millhauser doesn't traffic in emotional upheaval or interpersonal
> conflict. He flattens his characters, giving his books the paradoxical
> effect of seeming realer than reality.
> Not that it's relevant, but the book is 'Dangerous Laughter'
> Reviewed by D.T. MAX
> I guess that, in context, 'realer' works, though a google reveals no
> evidence it's really a word. I consider the coinage, if that's what
> this is, as dumber than dumb.

You might want to start with Geoff Pullum's Language Log post on
rarely occurring comparatives like "wronger" and "realer" (with
references to the relevant section of CGEL):

There are various other LL posts on the topic, including mine here:

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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