[Ads-l] "What would be the right thing to do?"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 12 02:14:42 EDT 2017


Peter Reitan pjreitan at hotmail.com via
<https://support.google.com/mail/answer/1311182?hl=en> listserv.uga.edu to
ADS-L

Jul 1 (6 days ago)
Jul 1 (6 days ago)
> He was asked, "What would . . . ?"

True. But this was written, not spoken, OTOH, given that punctuation is no
longer regarded as of consequence, the writer could very well have been
thinking that, without giving a care as to how it might be written, given
the general rule of written-English stylistics:

Fuck it!  They'll figure it out

certainly, I have no real counter-argument against your suggestion.

Consider this sentence, from a pdf:

"_RectangleTracker_ no longer stops responding unexpectedly."

Because what we want is for _RectangleTracker_ to *continue* responding
unexpectedly. If what we want is that _RectangleTracker_ no longer
unexpectedly stop responding, then we would have written that.

Right? 😜


On Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 5:15 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> He was asked, "What would . . . ?"
> ________________________________
> From: Wilson Gray<mailto:hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: ‎7/‎1/‎2017 2:34
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: "What would be the right thing to do?"
>
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "What would be the right thing to do?"
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------
>
> Read: 1) "He was asked what would be the right thing to do."
>
> One upon a time, the "correct" word-order would have been,
>
> 2) "He was asked what the right thing to do would be."
>
>
> I don't find this as bizarre as splitting an infinitive with _not_ - "to
> not VERB" as opposed to "not to VERB" - since, from 1945 to 1954, I was
> actually taught that (1) was "incorrect" and (2) was "correct."
>
> Not to mention that the preferred form of the question was taught as,
>
> "What would the right thing to do be?"
>
> Also heard, a pahk-the-cah"-speaking Boston police captain saying,
>
> "Unless we could find out more, we would never be _through_ with these
> armored-car robberies."
>
> Possibly the only time that I've heard anyone on the East Coast use
> "through" instead of "done."
>
> --
> -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
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
-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

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


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