"by Ving" as topic marker

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Jun 7 17:39:52 UTC 2008

heard on the radio this morning:

Roach hopes that by talking about [her son] Drew’s autism, it will
spur more research and assistance for families affected by it.
   (Wendy Kaufman, NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday story, 6/7/08, on
weightlifter Melanie Roach)

last discussed here back on 12/4/06, under the header "by doing that,

(where i give an account of how this (non-standard) topicalization
construction might have arisen and what its virtues are).

it's hard to believe that the construction hasn't had some discussion
in the composition literature (a literature i don't know).  in my
experience, composition teachers just complain about it as "wordy" --
but it's "wordy" in a very specific and interesting way.


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

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