Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 20 14:47:36 UTC 2011

At 1:11 AM -0500 1/20/11, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>I can almost understand what the ESPN announcer was trying to say:
>"Nobody makes more bigger shots than Chauncy Billups."
>"More" and "bigger" are meant to be parallel, but it doesn't quite work.
>One reading would be [more [bigger shots]], but this begs for antecedent
>for "bigger"--bigger than what? Another reading is "more [and] bigger
>shots", but this is also odd. One thing that was /not/ implied was the
>nonstandard [[more bigger] shots]. The actual implication might have
>been something like, "No one makes more big shots /or/ bigger shots than
>Chauncy Billups." In other words, he makes a lot of very important
>shots. But the hyperbolic got lost somewhere in the comparative.
>     VS-)
Yes, these have been discussed somewhere among those examples of
"Escher sentences" that sound fine until you start to try to parse
them.  Here's a bit of discussion from Language Log on another
species of this genus:
Arnold may be able to locate some discussion in the literature of the
Janus-scale comparatives like Victor's (or the related "Nobody makes
bigger shots more often than..."); I remember first hearing one from
Barbara Partee but I don't know if there's a write-up anywhere.


The American Dialect Society -

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