Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 6 19:54:07 UTC 2012

I recall a comic strip from N years ago. Scene: a school. Announcement
coming over the PA system. (My text here is no doubt much different from
the original, but the structural point is retained.)

(frame 1) With the recent spate of rainy weather, I know that many of you
have been concerned about the resurfacing of the parking lot.

(frame 2) But the forecast is clear and sunny for all of next week, and we
are hopeful that the parking lot will eventually resurface.

This works, of course, because the intransitive and subjectless transitive
senses merge in the gerund construction "V-ing of NP".

Mark Mandel

On Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 3:29 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at>wrote:

> OED2 does have the relevant transitive sense for "surface", defined as
> "to bring to public notice" (originally in the sense "to produce or
> expose (a defector, spy, etc.).", from 1955 in American usage).
> Perhaps the editors didn't find enough evidence to warrant drafting a
> corresponding "re-" form in the OED3 entry for "resurface".
> --bgz
> On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at>
> wrote:
> >
> > Transitive, but in the meaning "to make something come to the surface":
> >
> >
> > Daily Kos Resurfaces Bain Bailout Orchestrated By Romney
> >
> > This is a potent mix: OED has two entries--one transitive, for
> > re-furnishing a surface, and one intransitive, for something come to the
> > surface (again).
> >
> > There is /no/ entry for somewhat metaphorical resurfacing--reappearing,
> > arising or occurring after an absence--which would be a derivative from
> > the intransitive version 2. But here it's the same meaning, but
> > transitive (making something appear after an absence).
> >
> > Is this convoluted enough? Or am I missing something that explains it
> > cleaner?

The American Dialect Society -

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