20 Questions, and Irreflexive In
Posted by Neal on August 8, 2007
Doug and Adam and I were playing 20 Questions while we waited for our food to arrive one night. The domain was places; the game went down something like this… [cue harp music]
Adam started things off: “Maybe he’s Antarctica.” Doug went for a more systematic approach. He first made sure the place was on Earth, then ruled out that it was in our hemisphere. Then:
Doug: Are you an island?
Doug: Are you in Europe?
Doug: Are you in Asia? Australia? Africa? Antarctica?
Me: No. No. No. No.
Doug: Geez! What are you?
Me: Maybe I’m a body of water.
Doug: Ohhhh! Are you the Atlantic Ocean?
Adam: Are you the Pacific Ocean?
Doug: Are you the Mississippi River?
Me: Well, wait a minute. Before you go a lot further, why don’t you ask me if I’m a body of water?
Doug: Are you a body of water?
Doug got rather exasperated at this point for some reason. He asked for a hint, and I told him that the problem with his earlier questions had been the in. He realized his mistake, so now:
Doug: Are you Europe? Asia? Australia? Africa? Antarctica?
Me: No. No. No. No. Yes!
When I told the story to their mom, she scolded me for not playing fair. But what can I say? In, like other prepositions, is irreflexive!