[Ads-l] W:pedia: "Carry on, Sergeant" is a normal expression for an Army officer to use; ...

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 11 11:48:11 UTC 2015

Interestingly enough, OED has "as you were" as a drill-field command from

But its first transparent example of the sense discussed here is not until

In a Civil War novel.

(1680 is surely just a grammatical artifact? 1864 comes close, but no


On Sun, May 10, 2015 at 8:01 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: W:pedia: "Carry on, Sergeant" is a normal expression for
> an
>               Army officer to use; ...
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, May 6, 2015 at 11:23 PM, Dave Hause <dwhause at cablemo.net> wrote:
> > Agree, the normal U.S. Army usage is "Carry on."
> Yet, I have to admit that *I* know this only because I've been in the Army.
> In fact, most, if not all, of the other recruits in my class were also
> under the impression that "As you were!" was the U.S. "equivalent" of
> "Carry on!" and finding out that it wasn't triggered as much conversation
> as the expression, "Fuckin' A!," did.
> IIRC, my first post on this topic was triggered by a scene in a movie in
> which an officer walks into a room of EM and civilians working at desks,
> someone calls "Attention!," and both the EM and the civilians leap to their
> feet, at attention, until the officer casually comments, "As you were."
> In fact, what would have happened is that someone would have shouted "At
> ease!," the officer would have the next best thing to simultaneously
> shouted, "Carry on!," the EM wouldn't have moved much beyond a twitch, and
> the civilians would have ignored the whole thing.
> '
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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