[Ads-l] "Paul Robinette" of _Law and Order_ speaks:

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Thu Jan 28 07:42:59 UTC 2016

> On Jan 27, 2016, at 9:59 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> Subject:      "Paul Robinette" of _Law and Order_ speaks:
> "She's not that good _of_ a liar."
> "Paul" - Richard Brooks, a native of Cleveland - is the original black guy
> of L&O.

first thing: PR is an actor, reading lines from a script. for all we know, this is what the script writer gave him as a line, and any linguistic interest it might have has nothing to do with PR's race or the place where he grew up.

it is true that actors sometimes alter the lines they were given to fit the system of their own variety. in this case, i tried to find out what the line was in the script, but to no avail. but the variant is of such great frequency these days that it's quite likely it was in the script.

second thing: i've posted about this variant dozens of times on ADS-L and posted about it repeatedly on my blog; an inventory of postings on my blog about EDM (with comments) can be found here:


the historically older variant is what i've called -of EDM (Exceptional Degree Marking) -- in this case,

  She's not that good a liar.

(this is an answer to Benjamin Barrett's question about what the alternative is to the variant in Law & Order; Barrett is apparently a speaker of the now-standard variety in the US, with only (or predominantly) +of EDM.)


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list