Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 15:25:16 UTC 2011

I've been doing this for too long. The sentence makes perfect sense to me
and, allowing for the double comparative (and the meaning of "bigger"), it
parses too.

Nuthin' Escheresque there.


On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 9:47 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: basketball
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> 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.
> LH
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