as well = 'either'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 13 16:50:43 UTC 2011

The oddness of this "new" "as well" depends less on the meaning than on the
unexpected displacement of perfectly standard and always and anciently
normal "either."

It seems especially strange to hear it from TV journalists, because "as
well" offers a possibility of misunderstanding that "either" does not.

To someone only half paying attention, "Nobody was hurt there as well" might
suggest that somebody was hurt at both locations.  "Nobody was hurt there
either" probably cannot be thus misunderstood.

Since clarity is one of the rules of TV journalism, I suspect that it's an
aversion to "either" that lies behind the phenomenon.

Though not invariably, hypercorrection is also one of the rules of TV


On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:32 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: as well = 'either'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sep 13, 2011, at 9:12 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 11:46 AM, Jonathan Lighter
> > <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
> >> everybody now seems to say "is is."
> >
> > What it is is that I am pleased to consider myself a pioneer in the
> > development and spread of this feature. NOT!
> >
> > Ever since a friend, ca. 1977, pointed out to me that I'm an "is is"
> > speaker, I've "struggled mightily," to coin a phrase, to kick the
> > habit.
> the sentence you wrote has the sequence "is is" in it, but it's not an
> instance of what's been written about under the name Isis, "double is", "is
> is", etc.  it's perfectly standard.  see the discussion here:
> AZ, 2/22/07: Labels Are Not Definitions:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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