[Ads-l] Gathering egg corns while ye may...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 11 01:31:24 UTC 2017

I read today that

'The president’s son added in a statement that he did not know the identity of Veselnitskaya prior to the meeting and that he asked then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner, now a senior White House adviser, to attend but “told them nothing of the substance” about the get-together.’

Was it a get-together at all, though?  Or a get-to-gather?

This one doesn’t seem to be in the database or our files, but there are over 100 actual g-hits for “a get-to-gather”, some but not all from various Asian Englishes.  Here’s one from a novel:

On the morning of the fourth day, the plantation owner intercepted Jim at the barn and requested a get-to-gather in the conference room.


A couple more involving campsites:

Rental of the entire Great Lodge includes two (2) floors , (Smokey’s Den) and (The Great Hall/Mess Hall) and access to all of the necessities needed to host an event. An ideal place for children’s parties; families for a “get to gather”; meetings; organizations, or groups wishing to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in truly rustic surroundings...

Each room has its own unique theme and style that ranges from a basic room for two with a gas fireplace to a room that has a full kitchen if you feel like throwing a get-to-gather with some friends.

What’s puzzling to me is that the original compound is totally transparent—it’s called a get-together because it’s when you get together.  Why invent something *more* obscure, as if getting to gather makes more sense than getting together (either for U.S./U.K. speakers or Asian English speakers)?  

(I’m leaving aside the fact that for me at least “to gather” and “together” are not homophones, although I suppose a New Zealander saying the former may sound like a non-new-Zealander saying the latter.)


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list