sooner and later

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Sep 28 15:50:03 UTC 2007

On Sep 28, 2007, at 8:10 AM, Scot LaFaive wrote:

>> [Charlie Doyle] Yesterday on an Atlanta TV station, Bobby Patrino--
>> coach of the Atlanta Falcons--declared that his beleaguered team
>> will resume its winning ways, but "we need it sooner than later."
>> When he said it, orally, it ALMOST sounded right!

> It sounds very right to me.

i suspect that most of us want a "rather" in there.

charlie's idea that it's a truncation of a fixed expression is
attractive.  there are piles of these, some discussed here in june
2006: "truth be told", "truth to tell", "first/last thing" ("I check
my mail first thing in the morning"), "that being", "long story
short", "as far as" without a final element like "is concerned",
"reason stands", "that said", "no surprise", "(the) last" + clause,
without head "time" ("(the) last I looked, we were still fighting in
Iraq"), "same reason", and more.


The American Dialect Society -

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