"confuses X for Y"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 6 01:43:42 UTC 2007

Ah ha. Thank you so much for this explanation. Where I went astray was in
(careful now, Mandel, it would be embarrassing to get it "wrong" here...)
   the etymology of a construction such as "confuse X for Y"
with (whew!)
   the basis for its use in a particular utterance.

m a m

On 9/3/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> On Sep 2, 2007, at 7:04 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:
> > 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.
> i begin to despair that i can ever be clear about this.  i'm not
> denying that "confuse X for Y" is in some sense a combination of the
> patterns of "confuse X with Y" and "mistake X for Y"; i'm saying that
> most occurrences of "confuse X for Y" are not inadvertent slips in
> which two different formulations of a thought compete with one
> another in production, with the result that parts of each are
> realized.  the many (a few hundred thousand) google webhits for
> {"confuse * for"} don't look at all like slips; they look like things
> the writers intended.


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