Intrusive "of"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Nov 10 17:28:07 UTC 2008

On Nov 10, 2008, at 8:42 AM, i wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Intrusive "of"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Nov 10, 2008, at 7:49 AM, i wrote:
>> follow-up to my previous response: we had extensive discussions here
>> of ordinary degree marking ("how big a house") vs. exceptional degree
>> marking ("how big of a house")...

this is all balled up.  there are *three* things to distinguish here:
ordinary degree marking (ODM, or O for short), as in "a very big
house", and two types of extraordinary degree marking (EDM, or X for
short), the standard version as in "too big a house" and the non-
standard (but rapidly spreading in the u.s.) version as in "too big of
a house".  in some of my earlier postings i distinguished these as the
"-of" (or "of-less") and the "+of" (or "of-ful") variants, respectively.

this is unlovely terminology.  "zero-EDM" ("zero-X" for short) vs. "of-
EDM" ("of-X" for short) is a bit better.

in any case, the discussions we've had here have been mostly about
zero-EDM vs. of-EDM, not about EDM vs. ODM.

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