for your collection of inverse "substitute" examples...

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Nov 19 05:26:36 UTC 2013

Fortunately, as Larry points out, this one can't be
misinterpreted.  Now, if one is constructing missiles ...


At 11/18/2013 09:50 PM, hw gray wrote:

>On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:
> > But few examples I've seen are as unambiguously "substitute OLD for NEW"
> > (and thus predictably weird for those of you who share my old-fogeyspeak
> > dialect).
> >
> > LH
> >
>"Predictably weird" is too mild a term! Doesn't German do something like
>this? I have a vague memory of having my mind boggled by such a
>construction. Do you know Harry Bockner? He told me of having had a similar
>problem as he was writing his thesis. He interpreted such a sentence,
>likewise in German, as saying that what he'd always thought to be X > Y
>was, in fact, Y > X. Fortunately, he was wise enough to check it in a
>IAC, the ongoing shift to this odd (re)construction passeth my
>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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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