[Ads-l] A newish construction and a newish euphemism

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Thu Apr 4 22:21:40 UTC 2019

This is all quite fascinating. It seems to me that the verb matters. For
example, _bribe_ seems to be relatively less controversial. I find a lot of
sentences like these:

   - Trump's father bribed his son's way into a prestigious university.
   - Randolph's in the Senate only because Dear Old Dad bought him the
   seat, or rather bribed his son's way into it.
   - I can't prove this, but my wealthy uncle bribed his son's way into
   - Though she was never great at acting nor very receptive to her
   instructors' lessons, her father still bribed his daughter's way into
   various acting parts

But I can't see anything pre-2019 for "cheated [his|her]
[son's|daughter's|kid's way into". And it feels wronger to me. At the other
end you have _pave_, which of course is perfectly fine. So it's something
about the semantic relationship between the verb and the argument "X's way
into [desirable situation]". And these verbs are quite different in this
respect. You just cheat (you may cheat someone, but that would be an odd
way of referring to an exam); you bribe someone, and that someone has
access to your path/way to your goal; and you can definitely pave a way -
the whole thing is a metaphor.

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

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