Heard on The Judges: "let someone see NP" = "let someone borrow NP"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 28 12:49:27 UTC 2008

On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 3:42 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> At 7:05 AM -0700 6/27/08, James Smith wrote:
> >"Let me see that" for "Let me have (hold, examine) that" is common to me.
> >
> >White male, 62, UT
> >
> >James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
> >South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
> >jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
> >                                |or slowly and cautiously.
> >
> I (same race, sex, and age, different state) share your and Alice's
> judgment about "(Here,) let me see those nails" or whatever, meaning
> "use", in direct or indirect requests.  But I've never heard this in
> the past tense or third person, though--"I saw her nails".  It would
> seem very strange to hear "I saw his car keys" or "I let him see my
> car keys" with the meaning Wilson attested, "I borrowed his car keys
> and took a drive" or "I lent him my car keys and he used them to
> drive off".

I'm with you on your whole first sentence, but as far as I can tell, "I saw
his car keys" isn't in this race at all. Wilson & James refer only to the
construction "let" + NP + "see".

-- Mark

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

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