Message from discussion Singular "they" revisited
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From: Dr Nick <nospa...@temporary-address.org.uk>
Subject: Re: Singular "they" revisited
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Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2012 12:09:39 +0000
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Eric Walker <em...@owlcroft.com> writes:
> On Sun, 18 Nov 2012 11:08:50 +0000, Dr Nick wrote:
>> Eric Walker <em...@owlcroft.com> writes:
>>> On Sat, 17 Nov 2012 09:59:42 -0800, Jerry Friedman wrote:
>>>> Indeed, though the on-line OED mentions "come natural" as an
>>>> idiom. The usual senses of copulative "come" (ahem) are "become"
>>>> and "turn out to be".
>>> Just so. The more familiar form is "come easy": "Nothing comes
>>> easy to him."
>> Yet "nothing comes easily to him" sounds every bit as familiar, and
>> I suspect I'd be far more likely to use it.
> Well, first, we can take the admittedly dangerous course of comparing
> Google hit counts:
> comes easy : 1,830,000 (74%) comes easily : 657,000 (26%)
I get pretty well the same total hits although with 660k for the second.
Interestingly, in both searches the top result is a page called '"comes
easy" vs "comes easily"' although it sheds no light, just suggesting
someone Googles for the terms and counts the results!
If I add "site:uk" to the search the results are:
comes easy: 30,300 (16%) vs comes easily: 154,000 (84%)
That's a turnaround.
> We can also look in a dictionary, in this case the reputable AHD5,
> where we find "easy" as a common adverb:
> 1. Without haste or agitation: Relax and take it easy for a while.
> 2. With little effort; easily: success that came too easy. 3. In a
> restrained or moderate manner: Go easy on the butter. 4. Without much
> hardship or cost: got off easy with only a small fine.
I didn't deny that "easy" was used (and for help on my usage AHD would
be a long way down the list!). My dictionary of choice, Chambers,
doesn't even have an entry for "easy", just referring you to "ease" (as
it does for "easily"). Under ease we have "easily" just described as
"adj" and, a couple of sub-items further on "easy" also described as
"adj" but followed by a number of specific definitions.
I'm pretty sure that this means that Chambers considers "easily" the
normal adjective for all purpose and "easy" as a specialised one.
I think we can put a lot of this down to regional variation between two
live and correct forms of the expression.
> As I have said elsethread, the patterns are changing, with what I
> think a clear shift toward interpreting many verbs as copulative--or,
> in another view, of feeling many modifiers as adjectival rather than
> adverbial. In years to come, I suspect that many words classically
> written as adverbs will be replaced by adjectives, the feeling being
> that they apply to the doer rather than the manner of the doing.
But is it moving at the same direction, or at the same speed, on the two
sides of the Atlantic?