snowclone: A by B, C by D

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 30 02:31:17 UTC 2007

At 1:16 PM -0500 9/29/07, Clai Rice wrote:
>Given the examples and a few more I was able to dredge up, the formula might
>more exactly be:
>         Adj1 by NP1, Adj2 by NP2

or verbal (passive) participle.  And sometimes the participle
(adjectival or verbal) is fronted.  Which product is it again that's
"Doctor-tested and mother-approved", or something of the sort?


>My first reaction was to remember a phrase ubiquitous still in today's
>         "American by birth, Southern by the grace of God"
>I couldn't turn up much history on this phrase. The earliest Google books
>example is a line for VS Naipaul's _A Turn in the South_ (Knopf, 1989), p.
>292, unconfirmed by snippet view.
>In 1988 MCA released a Lynryd Skynyrd tribute album called--a little
>misleadingly--"Lynyrd Skynyrd Live," documenting a 1987 tribute tour. The
>album, like the tour, was subtitled "Southern by the Grace of God," and
>eventually this became the common title for the album as it is listed by
>discographies and Amazon, etc. The earliest Lexis Nexis citations of the
>whole phrase and the second half, respectively, are reviews of those two
>publications. I don't have access to
>Clai Rice
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: David Bowie [mailto:db.list at PMPKN.NET]
>>  Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 9:06 AM
>>  Subject: snowclone: A by B, C by D
>>  From:    James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
>>  > I just happened to pick up a promo magazine for Yukon (one
>>  of Canada's
>>  > northern territories) someone left lying in the subway, and
>>  one of the
>>  > articles had this headline:
>>  > Yukon: Innovative by nature, entrepreneurial by tradition
>>  >
>>  > Which brought to my consciousness the fact that this seems to be an
>>  > increasingly common phrasing: A by B, C by D, where A and C are
>>  > adjectives usually related somehow and B and D are nouns usually
>>  > having some contrast or similar relation. There was an ad on the
>>  > subway last year for a herbal menopause treatment which had had a
>>  > medical trial, the only result of which the ad actually
>>  reported was
>>  > that many of the patients chose to stay on the treatment after the
>>  > trial was over. Its tag line (IIRC) was
>>  > Trialled by doctors, trusted by patients
>>  Whenever i've seen this, i've always read it as an extension
>>  of the old A:B::C:D SAT analogies: A is to B in just the same
>>  way as C is to D.
>>  Pretty much what you said, except that it would explain why
>>  it works for marketing purposes.
>>  <snip>
>>  --
>>  David Bowie                               University of
>>  Central Florida
>>       Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
>>       house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
>>       chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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