X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Sep 11 00:55:32 UTC 2007

Mark Mandel wrote:
> Laurence Horn wrote:
>> "marry" has not always been taken to be reciprocal or symmetric.
>> Here is R. G. White (_Words and their Uses_, 1886: 139-40) on the
>> topic:
>> ==================
>> The usual form of making the announcement is -- Married, John Smith
>> with Mary Jones, and in others -- John Smith and Mary Jones.  I have
>> no hesitation in saying all these forms are incorrect.  We know,
>> indeed, what is meant by any one of them; but the same is true of
>> hundreds and thousands of erroneous uses of language. Properly
>> speaking, a man is not married to a woman, or married with her; nor
>> are a man and woman married with each other. The woman is marrried to
>> the man.
> And Benjamin Barrett added:
>> And, "Will you marry me?" traditionally asked by the man.
> But that's linked to the asker, not to the male per se. Quote from
> memory, from _A Civil Campaign_ by Lois McMaster Bujold:
> [Ekaterin:] Lord Vorkosigan!
> [Miles:] Yes, my lady? Yours to command!
> [E:] Good. Will you marry me?
> I feel no linguistic anomaly here, only the social one, which of
> course is deliberate on the part of the author.
If the question is who marries whom and White claims that the woman
marries the man, then Miss Ekaterin is violating the sex constraint on
the verb. It may very well be that conversations such as this are a
precursor to the women's revolution, which has largely eliminated such
differences in Anglo law. BB

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