[Ads-l] Confusing ancestor and descendant in 1926

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 9 04:18:39 UTC 2020

Thanks for your responses. Mark, I agree that the construct is
awkward, but here are two examples.

[Begin excerpt
He traced his ancestor to King Solomon and Queen Sheba of Axum.
[End excerpt]

[Begin excerpt]
He traces his ancestor to Adnan, the Prophet s (s) twentieth forefather.
[End excerpt]

Dan, I think "descendance" can work, but the examples I see typically
use the preposition "from" instead of "to" (as Mark noted for descends
/ descended).

Year: 2017
Book: Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture (1700855): From Satire to Sanctity
Author: Nora M. Heimann

[Begin excerpt]
Louis-Philippe's eagerness to establish his legitimacy as a rightful
heir to the throne of France may be seen in the publication of a
heraldric chart during his reign that traced his descendance from the
first French king "Pharamon I" in AD 420 . . .
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 9:18 AM Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com> wrote:
> > "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>
> wrote:
> >
> > *...*
> >
> > 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

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

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