[Ads-l] Confusing ancestor and descendant in 1926

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 8 13:18:15 UTC 2020

> "He traces his descendant to Cromwell's lieutenant general".

This particular example of the confusion may have a better excuse than the
others. Since we say "He {descends / is descended} from Cromwell's
lieutenant general", the writer may well have been thinking of "He traces
his *descent*...".

Incidentally, the construction "He traces his ancestor to..." is new to me
and sounds very wrong.

Mark Mandel

On Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 8:22 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> *...*
> Below is an 1893 citation containing the phrase: *"He traces his
> descendant to Cromwell's lieutenant general".* I think that the statement
> probably should be: "He traces his ancestor to Cromwell's lieutenant
> general" or "He traces his ancestry to Cromwell's lieutenant general".


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list