Mystery of living shorter

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu May 3 13:10:17 UTC 2007

In the same vein, how would generative grammar generate "live long" but exclude "live short" as a standard feature of the language?
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Thu 5/3/2007 7:04 AM
Subject: Mystery of living shorter

>From today's Yahoo News :

"Dillin said it usually takes a 50 to 70 percent reduction in normal food intake to yield longer lifespan in animals.
 "'If you reduce food too much, you're going to go toward starvation and actually live shorter,' Dillin said."
Logic sez that "live shorter" should be just as idiomatically normal as "live longer," but I could never use it in a serious context. It would have to be, "actually live less long," "actually not live as long," or "live for a shorter time."

If some things can live long, why can't other things live short ?


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