_To_? Or _for_?

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat Jan 2 00:23:15 UTC 2010

Isn't this merely an instance of the so-called "dative of  functional possession" (cf. "The top to/for the pen" vs. "The top of the pen")?
------Original Message------
From: Wilson Gray
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: [ADS-L] _To_? Or _for_?
Sent: Jan 1, 2010 6:35 PM

For the past quarter-century or more, I've had a feeling that either I
or the rest of the English-speaking world has been losing control of
the TO / FOR distinction. Unfortunately, whenever this possibility has
occurred to me, either I'm not on line or no example of this supposed
shift in use comes to mind. However, thanks to George, to have come
together. He writes,

"... an illustration_to_ a wig-maker's ad."

I vastly prefer

"... an illustration_for_ a wig-maker's ad."

Of course, this could be merely a dialect split that, for any number
of possible reasons, escaped my notice till I took up residence in
this part of the country, just as I was once completely unaware that
there are millions of native-speakers of English living east of the
Mississippi and north of the Ohio who pronounce, e.g._Elise_ as
approximately [I 'lis] and not as [I 'li:z] or who pronounce_noon_ as
[nIwn} and not as [nuwn].

You never know.



All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

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

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

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