Evil passive voice

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue May 15 17:03:38 UTC 2007

On May 14, 2007, at 12:35 PM, Doug Harris wrote:

> Exerpt from AMZ's Language Log contribution:
> Very. Avoid this lukewarm, unspecific adverb....
> --
> Moments after reading that I encountered
> this in the Oneonta NY Daily Star, in an
> article reporting on a local farmer's
> encounter with a bolt of lightning:
> Doring was "very, very, very sore," Huyck said,
> adding that he'll need some follow-up medical
> attention and tests.
> The lesson is, of course, that while 'very'
> on its own isn't very impressive, verily,
> very, very very is.

ca. 69,800 google webhits for {"very very afraid"}.  some have the
whole formula
   Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.
some just the second part, but pretty clearly in allusion to the

anyone know the source?  (i am once again away from fred shapiro's
excellent quotations dictionary.)


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