[Ads-l] TV dialogue: "We will lay waste your city!"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 2 07:36:14 UTC 2016

The relevant first page of GBooks has examples of _lay waste sth_ ranging
in date from 1643 to 2012. The second page has the following:

Garner's Modern English Usage - Page 555
Bryan Garner - 2016 - ‎Preview
*lay waste.* The traditional idiom is an unusual one: either they laid
waste the city or (a variant form) they laid the city waste. Lay is the
verb; city is the object; and waste is an adjective serving as an objective

My impression  is that, usually, people say, "... lay waste _to_ your
city," here of late. The impression that this is new gets some support from
the fact that tThe relevant first page of GBooks has examples of "lay waste
_to_ sth" ranging in date from 2001 to 2014.
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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