the spread of adjective-licensed "of"

Benjamin Lukoff blukoff at ALVORD.COM
Mon Jan 21 07:40:15 UTC 2008

On Mon, 21 Jan 2008, STAHLKE, HERBERT F wrote:

> The "of a" you illustrate strikes me as related to another @(v) I've
> observed.  In clauses like
> If he had been there.
> What I hear often is "if he'd /@@/ been there."  The lengthened schwa is
> almost two syllables in speech.  One of the schwa's is clearly the
> reduction of "have," but the other can't be that.  I also get it and
> hear it sometimes in the declarative "He'd /@@/ been there if it hadn't
> @ rained."  The schwa in this conditional seems to be the same thing as
> the first of the schwas in the main clause.  I don't have a description
> of this phenomenon, but there is clearly something going on that
> reanalyzes both "have" and "of."

I was always taught this was a contraction of "would have," e.g., "If he
would have been there," "He would have been there..."

That doesn't explain the @ before "rained," though. And of course "If he
would have been there" isn't standard...that would be "If he had been

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