Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Don’t Do Me Any Favorites

Posted by Neal on July 10, 2007

Hey, if you think I take things literally, check out this post from Bill Walsh.

OK, I have to come clean. Although I didn’t actually say in that last sentence that Bill Walsh takes things more literally than I do, I am aware that it’s just possible that readers might get that idea from my use of the “If you think X has property Y, you should see Z” frame. So in the interest of full disclosure: I’m just as literal-minded as Walsh is on this one. I agree with everything in the post, and with the comments people had made by the time I read it.

2 Responses to “Don’t Do Me Any Favorites”

  1. Rachel Klippenstein said

    Have you ever thought about the literal oddity of the expression “Happy belated birthday”? It makes me think, “No, my birthday wasn’t belated, it was right on time. It’s just being commemorated late.”

  2. […] First of all, I would have toned down the strident tone of the piece. Though I still think that Bill Walsh is way off base on this one, an argument should be much more egregiously wrong, and on many fronts, before you use the rhetorical question "Where to begin?" to introduce your rebuttal. So I've deleted that flourish. Walsh has a lot of good advice (in the book I linked to and in his other one The Elephants of Style), and I appreciate his literal-mindedness as a like spirit. (See, for example, this post.) […]

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