[Ads-l] "Lose complete control" and its ilk

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 25 11:08:56 EDT 2017

The term mentioned previously was "hypallage".


[Begin excerpt from 2007 message]
Cris Collinsworth on NBC, discussing a big fumble, remarked that "it
turned the complete game around", i.e. turned the game completely

(In an earlier discussion over the summer re "dodged a narrow
bullet", Arnold reminded us this is called or transferred
epithets.  Somehow it strikes me as especially odd when the adverb
transfer to modify a definite, as above.)
[End excerpt]

Here is a link to a germane Language Log post by Arnold Zwicky:

On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> Has anyone encountered descriptions of these “transferred modifiers” in which “A-ly VERB +nominal” is expressed as “VERB A +nominal”?  I’m especially interested in the ones in which there’s a potential compositional or transparent meaning that happens not to be the one intended.  So, for example, we have these Google-attested cases:
> “lost complete interest in my life/in the news/in smoking cigarettes/hobbies/career goals”
> “lost total control of my life/my desktop/myself/the match/his power/his presidency/her faculties”
> “lacks total understanding of the problem"
> With the meaning ‘completely (totally) lost interest, control,…'
> These are similar to a construction I think we’ve discussed in an antique thread, exemplified by “He raised an insouciant/inquisitive/expectant eyebrow”, meaning ‘He insouciantly/inquisitively/expectantly raised an eyebrow’, in that the eyebrow itself was not insouciant or expectant; this sometimes is employed self-consciously (and archly) as a figure of speech.  But the ‘complete/total control' case is especially interesting to me because in principle it *could* refer to losing *complete* control (while retaining partial control), but it doesn’t:
> #I lost total control of my faculties, but fortunately I still have some control of them.
> It’s not a question of total control (and lacking or losing it), but of totally lacking or losing control.
> Can anyone point me to any discussion of these constructions?  I sort of recall someone supplied a (Greek?) name for the trope of the adverb-in-adjective-clothing in the case of insouciant eyebrow, but I can’t recall what the name was, or whether there was any specific focus on the “lose complete control” cases.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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