for your collection of inverse "substitute" examples...

hw gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 19 02:50:07 UTC 2013

On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> But few examples I've seen are as unambiguously "substitute OLD for NEW"
> (and thus predictably weird for those of you who share my old-fogeyspeak
> dialect).
> LH

"Predictably weird" is too mild a term! Doesn't German do something like
this? I have a vague memory of having my mind boggled by such a
construction. Do you know Harry Bockner? He told me of having had a similar
problem as he was writing his thesis. He interpreted such a sentence,
likewise in German, as saying that what he'd always thought to be X > Y
was, in fact, Y > X. Fortunately, he was wise enough to check it in a

IAC, the ongoing shift to this odd (re)construction passeth my

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

The American Dialect Society -

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