what and what not

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 25 03:43:25 UTC 2010

On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 6:23 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: what and what not
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> That's exactly the thing. I am not /surprised/ by any version:
> _what/what_not_, _what_to/what_not_to_, or the full one with the verb
> fully repeated in both parts. But the reduced version are both...
> uncomfortable. And, yes, the idea that Arnold wrote about it some time
> ago did cross my mind.
> Â  Â  VS-)
> On 11/24/2010 6:08 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> At 6:04 PM -0500 11/24/10, Neal Whitman wrote:
>>> I have no problem with it whatsoever.
>>> Neal
>> I would have to say "...what to and what not to cover", but I
>> wouldn't be surprised to hear the more reduced version. Â This seems
>> like something Arnold may have written on at some point...
>> LH
>>> On Nov 24, 2010, at 1:36 PM, Victor Steinbok<aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM> Â wrote:
>>> ...
>>>> Â  http://goo.gl/mBttU
>>>>> Â  Â From the TSA's blog post describing what and what not to bring through
>>>>> Â  airport checkpoints: ...
>>>> ...
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Reminds me of the revulsion that I feel when I see strings like,

"_One_ out of two people _are_ ..."

instead of

"_One person_ out of two _is_ ..."

or even

"_One_ out of two people _is_ ..."

But, what can you do? It's been nearly three-score years since I last
saw the forms that I prefer. It's like "to not go" in place of "not to
go." I don't recall learning any prescriptive rule against either of
these innovations. No prescription was necessary, because wasn't
anybody speaking or writing anything like that, back in the day.

And not only that, but local young people are also using "Wilkes-Bear"
in place of one of the heretofore-customary pronunciations.

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

Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
–Kathryn Schulz

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

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