Captured Same

Rick Barr rickbarremail at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 17 12:40:52 UTC 2010

Here's Bryan A. Garner (in *Garner's Modern America Usage*):
"same. [...] As a pronoun. This usage, common exemplified in the
phrase *acknowledging
same*, is a primary symptom of legalese. [...] [T]he phrase is rendered
sometimes with the definite article, sometimes without. [...] Unfortunately,
the pretentious construction has spread to general writing [...]. [...] In
fact, when used as a pronoun, *same* is even less precise than *it*
singular) or *they* (transparently plural). *Same* can be either and is
therefore often unclear."

And here's the more latitudinarian MWEU:'s%20usage&pg=PA825#v=onepage&q&f=false


On Sun, May 16, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
> Subject:      Captured Same
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In a WWII-era Tom and Jerry cartoon (I think it's called "Yankee Doodle
> Mouse," but I'm too lazy to go downstairs and find the DVD it's on and
> check), at one point Jerry sends a telegram to his commanders to report
> that
> his mission was accomplished. The wording went something like: "Found enemy
> cat, captured same." I wondered if this was some kind of diction of a
> bygone
> era, with "same" used where I'd've said "it". But here's a headline from
> the
> website for Aviation Week, dated Sept. 23, 2008:
> Sighted Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible Drug Runner, Captured Same
> So is this a military thing instead? Why use "same", when "it" (or "him" or
> "her") does the same job in an unstressed pronoun with (regarding
> telegrams)
> fewer letters?
> Neal Whitman
> Email: nwhitman at
> Blog:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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