[Ads-l] come = minutes before (the hour of ...)

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun Nov 24 19:39:57 UTC 2019

> On Nov 23, 2019, at 9:19 PM, Mark Mandel <markamandel at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Heard on WRTI, a public radio station out of Temple University here in
> Philadelphia:
> "twenty-one come nine" (8:39pm)

cool  fact. this is an extension of the existing use of "come" as a time preposition (historically from an old subjunctive, apparently), as in this NOAD entry:

prep. come: _informal_ when a specified time is reached or event happens: "I don't think that they'll be far away from honors come the new season."

the semantics here is of time at which, but in Mark's ex. it's time before which -- a use of "come" in numerical time expressions, as an alternative to before /  till / to / (AmE) of.  there's a story to be told there.

meanwhile, "come" in such expressions is remarkably hard to search for, though more examples *in context* would be highly desirable. anyone have some?  

NOTE: the template is a single TimeLocationExpression of the form
    TimeMeasureExpression COME TimeLocationExpression
it's obviously extendable to things like "a quarter before/come noon" and, presumably to things like "two days before/come Christmas in "it happened two days before/come Christmas".

(something like "two weeks come/on Tuesday/Christmas" in "it will be two weeks come/on Tuesday/Christmas" -- easily attested, with exx. in the OED -- is beside the point; this is two time adverbials in sequence, not a single time adverbial with two constituents.)


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

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