Overnegation and Nary (Your Language Log Post)

Marc Sacks msacks at THEWORLD.COM
Wed May 30 15:50:03 UTC 2007

Jim Parish wrote:

> Not Faulkner, but here's another use of "ary", from Manly Wade
> Wellman's short story "O Ugly Bird!" (copyright 1946, but my copy is in
> a 1963 anthology, _Who Fears the Devil?_):
> "I thought for a moment, then I inquired him: 'What's the way he can get
> ary thing he wants in this valley?'"
This "ary" doesn't look like a positive version of "nary," as the Faulkner
example did. If I encountered this out of context I'd probably read it as
a typo for "any."

"Nary" looks like a variant of "never," in which context "ary=ever" makes
some sense, but that doesn't work in Jim's example.

Marc Sacks
msacks at theworld.com

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

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