"confuses X for Y"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 3 02:04:02 UTC 2007

What's wrong with the analysis of "confuse X for Y" as a blend of "confuse X
with Y" and "mistake X for Y"? I must be missing something here, probably
the specifics of your taxonomy.

m a m

On 8/30/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> i've now thought some more about it, and i now think that reversed
> "substitute" isn't a blend, that is, it's not a type-2 combo, and
> that "confuse for" isn't either.  the first is certainly a combo, and
> the second might be, and both could have on occasion have occurred as
> production errors, but a much more likely story is just that of
> pattern extension (in which speakers work creatively, though
> unconsciously, with the materials of their language).  pattern
> extensions happen all the time, along natural paths, and they can be
> devised by many different people on many different occasions.  theyll
> be likely to spread because they seem intuitively reasonable to other
> speakers.
> that might be a sufficient story for "confuse for" (which sounds
> better and better to me with every passing hour) and for the first
> step in the history of "substitute" (the development of encroached
> "substitute").

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