Grist to the Mill

13 July, 2004


The "EFL game" has made me more aware of language, and here are two trends I have become aware of. These are spoken - not written - trends, btw.

First of all is the tendency, when asking questions, to use the opposite word with a negative (especially as opposed to the contraction). So, for example, yesterday I heard someone say

"Is he not going?" rather than "Isn't he going?" or even "Is he staying"

Likewise "Are you not hungry?" rather than ("Aren't you..?)

An overheard question, directed to someone who had been looking for other people, was phrased "Were they not there?" (rather than "Weren't they..?")

Admittedly, the "not" is stressed in all of these questions, but what is going on? I'm sure this is a new-ish thing.

Secondly, the tendency to add 'most-'/'more-' to one-syllable adjectives (rather than '-est' / '-er').

For example, "It's the most lame dog you've ever seen" (not, "the lamest")

"He's the most slow of all" (of a student)

"Already, it's more dark" (not darker).

If some of these examples seem a little 'far out', that's because I made them up!! harhar. Although some were overheard. Does anyone else recognise this?

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