Anybody else?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Nov 4 21:19:39 UTC 2005

On Nov 3, 2005, at 7:56 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

>> On Nov 3, 2005, at 10:27 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> Has anybody else noticed the TV voice-over guy who speaks of
>>> "rare but
>>> serious fatalities" that have _     _or may occur as a
>>> consequence of using
>>> the patent medicine that he's shilling for?
> D''oh! I, uh, meant "... that have _occurred_ or may occur ...," of
> course. It was just a lapsus calami. That Latin make up for it, right?

you're in good company, wilson: joan didion, NYT editorial writers,
AP news writers, NPR reporters, and ADS-L's own benjamin barrett
(10/6/05: "I expect the simplified characters will or are becoming
standard there"), not to mention thousands of people you can google up.

yes, i collect examples of "determination by the nearest" (usually
treated in the handbooks as instances of "failures of parallelism"),
and have posted about the phenomenon here and on Language Log.  my
assessment is that for a fair number of people, this has simply
become the way government of verb form works with conjoined
auxiliaries -- much as "as Adj or Adj-er than" is "is probably simply
a long-lived English idiom" (MWDEU on "as good or better than").


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