X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 11 19:52:42 UTC 2007

On 9/11/07, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> Exactly.  I use the Dowd passage as part of a homework exercise on
> intersective modifiers in Intro Semantics; students are expected to
> find the fallacy by adducing examples like "peanut butter" ("He
> denies that peanut butter (the second word of which is butter) is
> butter"), "sea horse", and "phone sex", but I was thinking of citing
> "dwarf planet" as another excellent example, and saved some Op-Ed
> pieces that came out just after the astronomers' vote on this.

Don't know if this matters, but in the three older exx. the modifier
is a noun used as a noun -- buttery stuff made from peanuts,
horse-like creature of the sea, sexual activity via phone -- while
"dwarf planet" is not a planet-like thing inhabited by dwarfs: (I
assume!): the modifier is an adjective.

m a m

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list