Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

The Slippery Slope of Language

Posted by Neal on April 5, 2004

Glen had some interesting comments on my last posting, where I discussed sentences following the pattern of Others were attempted to be killed. He said:

In order to make that conclusion [that this construction is grammatical], wouldn’t you need to know the frequency with which [it] appears relative to other constructions that express the same idea? Or, perhaps, the frequency with which native listeners and readers have an adverse reaction to it? After all, if the phrasing struck *you* as wrong, and it struck *me* as wrong, I’ll bet it strikes *lots* of people as wrong.

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