Prescriptive linguists

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Fri Jan 25 12:03:19 UTC 2008

*Which car did you put Mary in the garage?

So this is supposed to mean "Which car did you put in the garage for Mary
(or at Mary's behest/request)?"?

My structuralist friend used this as an example of what he was talking
about--for him this was perfectly grammatical.  Since I found it
incomprehensible I challenged him on it.  Turns out he could use ethical
datives in places I couldn't.  He was from a small town in Kentucky, FWIW.
I should have also pointed out that (to the best of my knowledge--I
haven't met him) Radford IS a native speaker.

Geoffrey S. Nathan <geoffnathan at>

Faculty Liaison, Computing and Information Technology,
and Associate Professor of English, Linguistics Program
Phone Numbers (313) 577-1259 or (313) 577-8621
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI, 48202

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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