ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Apr 7 22:56:58 UTC 2009

"Seven-Eleven" could be termed a "generic" only in the loosest sense. The actual "generic" is "convenience store." True, someone might ask, "Where can I find a Seven-Eleven," but they could also ask, "Where is a Quick-Pick?" They are just using a famous brand in a short-hand way. The distinction is an important one in the law. It should also be important to linguists.

Also, I don't understand what is surprising about a construction such as "I want to go to Seven-Eleven." Why is this different from "I want to go to Publix" or "... Winn-Dixie" or "...Safeway"? I can say either one (with or without "the") with no meaning difference.
------Original Message------
From: Benjamin Zimmer
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] 7-Eleven
Sent: Apr 7, 2009 8:56 AM

On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 9:55 AM, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 6:23 PM, Victor <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The Davis&Izenberg 1990 parody on Stairway to Heaven has no article in
>> it for "7-Eleven". So, at the very least, this is nothing new.
> [...]
>> "7-Eleven"
>> (Lyrics by Mark Davis and Rob "Iceman" Izenberg (c) 1990 Screwball
>> Productions and Earthquake Entertainment)
>> There's a lady who goes to the store that won't close
>> and she's shopping at 7-Eleven
> Anarthrous "7-Eleven" also appears in other song lyrics, e.g.:
> I left the car outside and the engine still revving
> Time to take care of business at 7-Eleven.
>   --Beastie Boys," High Plains Drifter" (1986)

Make that 1989.

--Ben Zimmer

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

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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

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