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

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Dec 16 17:23:55 UTC 2006

On Dec 9, 2006, at 12:32 PM, Lary Horn wrote:

> At 8:17 AM -0500 12/9/06, David Bowie wrote:

>> ... 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.
> That would also be true if it's an incorporation.  The analysis as a
> compound is somewhat thrown into doubt by the stress pattern and the
> headedness--"ride bus" is not a kind of bus (compare:  "That was a
> long bus ride", which is a kind of ride and which is stressed on the
> first element.  I think "I ride bus" is a variant on "I bus(-)ride",
> where the latter is stressed on the first element and is a verb (and
> resists interruption).  If "ride bus" were a true compound verb,
> you'd expect the past tense to be "I ride-bussed", as in "I
> stir-fried the veggies".  And it's certainly not a compound noun.  I
> think it's a weird verb phrase, to introduce a technical term.

sorry.  i missed this the first time through -- i've been *very* busy
-- and have now posted something similar to larry's reply.


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list