'Convince x of y' = 'reassure x about y'

Damien Hall damien.hall at NEWCASTLE.AC.UK
Wed Nov 14 10:00:09 UTC 2012

Anyone come across such a reshaping as this?

In a story about a 'light quadricycle' with a car-like body, being marketed as a safer alternative to scooters and mopeds, for teens:

'We believe that the young rider market for scooters and mopeds has been contracting lately. [...] That is due to the difficulty in convincing parents of the safety issues surrounding mopeds and scooters.'

- from 'A car you can drive at 16... but at 28mph', UK _Metro_ (Newcastle-upon-Tyne edition), 14 Nov 12, p10

As I say, I _think_ this is a reshaping of the meaning of _convince (of)_.  I originally thought it was an extension of the meaning of 'safety issue' from the usual 'safety-related problem' to 'fact that safety (which is a legitimate concern) is not an issue' - but, re-reading it, I think that the reshaping is rather with _convince (of)_.  I'm not really sure - this marketing manager's quote is, in any case, not very felicitous.



Damien Hall
Newcastle University (UK)

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

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