"Do you do Taco Hell?" / "bus" as non-count n.

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Sat Dec 9 13:17:50 UTC 2006

From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>


> "ride bus", "drive truck", and "ride bike" are still another type of
> case, and i'm not sure at the moment what the right thing to say
> about them is, though my first guess was that they're related in some
> way to object-incorporating compounds like "bus-riding", "truck-
> driving" (and "truck-driver"), etc.; the idea would be that "ride
> bus" arises from interpreting "bus-riding" as the "-ing" form of a
> verb "bus-ride" (N+V), which in turn can be seen as a compound
> version of the syntactic V+Object combination "ride bus".  if
> something like this is right, "bus" (etc.) are just count nouns in
> their bare form, as is standard in N+X compounds (even when the N is
> understood as having plural semantics, as in "bird house" 'house for
> birds' etc.).

With my standard disclaimer that I Am Admittedly Clueless When It Comes
To Syntactic Analysis, i'm a ride bus/bike/truck[/and even occasionally
car!] speaker, and i've always thought that "ride bus" was a compound
word. For one thing (re-insert disclaimer here), i can't think of a
sentence containing "ride X" where you could insert a word between the
two parts of the construction.

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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

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