As A Metaphor, It's Maybe a 3-and-a-Half

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jul 23 04:42:16 UTC 2008

At 9:37 AM -0400 7/22/08, Doug Harris wrote:
>The second sentence in the following quote, from a 7/22 LA Times story
>on the importance of pre-planning a transition from one US president to
>another, begs a question: When _can_ you build a plane while flying it?
>(Answer, if it's a space station - which isn't a plane, but that's about
>as near as you can come to being able to build a flying object while it's
>doing so.)
>"Nevertheless, the arguments for detailed and publicly acknowledged
>pre-convention transition planning are overwhelming. This is a situation in
>which the plane cannot be built while flying it."
Well, it could be assumed that the intended allusion was "This is a
situation recalling/reminding us that a plane cannot be built while
flying it."  No allusions to planes that can be built while aloft.
Sloppy, perhaps--but some would say the same for the use of "This
begs a question" (for "This raises a question") above!


The American Dialect Society -

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