[Ads-l] "just as good _of_ a(n) NP"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 20 06:22:29 UTC 2015

On Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 7:06 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> I was never taught *not* to use "of" in those cases - presumably because
> nobody was foolish enough to use it.

That's a strange of a thing to say! ;-)

The way that you feel about this of is the way that I feel about
"splitting" an infinitive with "not." Nobody ever said to not do it ;-),
because nobody ever did it, back in the day. Yet, somehow, "splitting" an
infinitive with "not" is completely ordinary, these days, and I just have
to "grin and bear it" - a phrase not heard much, if at all, these days,
though it was once the title of a daily cartoon. OTOH, this of-insertion,
to me, is as ordinary of a thing as "splitting" an infinitive with "not"
is, to millions of other people.

In the discussion that I haven't bothered to cite, an English teacher asks
help in coming up with a reason that he can give his students for not
inserting "of."

It should be clear that if, you can't think of a reason not to do it, then
there is no reason not to do it. Why not simply say that it's a matter of
stylistics and let it go at that?
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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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