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

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Dec 16 17:21:02 UTC 2006

On Dec 9, 2006, at 5:17 AM, David Bowie wrote:

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

this would be an unusual type of compound for english -- V+N (rather
than N+V as in "babysit"), with accent on the second element (rather
than the first), and with the second element (rather than the first)
serving as head (past "rode bus", not "ride bused").  it looks just
like a verb plus its object, but in an idiomatic (and considerably
frozen) combination.


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