Anybody else?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 4 21:44:29 UTC 2005

On 11/4/05, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Anybody else?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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").
> arnold

Well, if even I needed several readings to notice my own failure of
parallelism, this phenomenon is probably well on its way to becoming
standard. Sigh! :-(


-Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list