Overnegation and Nary (Your Language Log Post)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 29 17:37:14 UTC 2007

On 5/29/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> from another LLog reader:
> Begin forwarded message:
> > I thought you might be interested to know, if you didn't already,
> > that Faulkner (through some of his characters) uses "ary" to mean
> > "nary" but without the negation.  So Faulkner would have said
> > "before ary a punch was thrown" and been correct.  I don't have my
> > OED handy but I suspect "ary" may have been a good formal word long
> > ago.
> anyone have any actual faulkner cites?

The only cite I can find (or the only one Google Book Search allows me
to see) uses "ary" in a positive context (like "any"). From _Uncle
Willy, and Other Stories_ (1958, p. 25):

"I Godfrey, if him and all of them put together think they can keep me
from working on my own church like ary other man, he better be a good
man to try it."

--Ben Zimmer

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

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