[Ads-l] "stepped foot on" (that flight)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Aug 21 03:42:33 UTC 2015

From a 2013 book I was just listening to tonight on my way home from the airport:

Eventually, his firm had outgrown the space he was in and he'd bought an office building on lower State Street into which he'd moved some two years before. I realized with embarrassment that I'd never even stepped foot in the place.

--Sue Grafton, _W is for Wasted_, Chapter 11

> On Oct 16, 2014, at 9:54 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> According to many (about 418) Google News sources, "CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said she [2nd Texas hospital nurse] never should have stepped foot on the flight, but another federal official told CNN that no one at the agency stopped her."
> I would say "set foot on", but many Google Web sites disagree.
> My attempt to count produces incomprehensible results -- searching for "step foot on" (quoted) gives me pages that contain instead only "set foot on".  Irregardless:
> "set foot on" -- 28,400,000 Google Web hits.

I get "about 791,000 results" when I try it today, but as noted elsewhere these numbers are essentially meaningless.  It *is* possible to do an actual count (ignoring duplicates and other minor matters) by going through the hits by advancing through the figures corresponding to the pages at the bottom of each page.  Doing so in this case yields the figure of 330 hits for "set foot on" (which of course includes some present as well as past tense occurrences) and 405 for "stepped foot on".  I find this quite surprising myself, since I couldn't remember coming across the latter before it was mentioned in this thread.  I suspect, though, that I wouldn't have noticed the occurrence in the Grafton novel if we hadn't just been discussing it; I would have just heard it as "set foot on" with "step" folded in.  


> "stepped foot on" -- merely 2,740,000 Google Web hits.
> Joel 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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