LINGUIST List 13.2912

Sun Nov 10 2002

Qs: "Balding" as Adj,"So...that" Structure

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  1. Scott J. Baxter, Sum of query prescriptive objections to "balding".
  2. Haiyong Liu, the English so...that Structure

Message 1: Sum of query prescriptive objections to "balding".

Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 11:06:44 -0500
From: Scott J. Baxter <>
Subject: Sum of query prescriptive objections to "balding".

On October 28 I posted a query asking if anyone was aware of
any prescriptive objections to the use of "balding" as an
adjective as in _a spare, already balding man in his
mid-thirties_. I received a number of useful replies the
main points of which are:

1) The word balding as an adjective, according to the OED,
was first attested in 1938 and several responders think it
appeared in American English later than that.

2) No current dictionary of English suggests that its use
(in prescriptive terms) is wrong, but older editions like
the 1980 American Heritage and Webster's Dictionary of
English Usage (1989)do. There is also a brief entry on this
word in the New Fowler's Modern English Usage (3rd; 1996).

3)Ergo, this was an example of language change in progress
some twenty years ago and now the adjective balding seems to
have become well assimilated into English which explains why
the prescriptivists no longer complain about it.

The following people gave me some very useful replies:

Clyde Hankey, Steve R. (No surname listed in message), Heidi
Angstrom, Astika Kapagoda, Liess Vantine, Jeremy Whistle,
James VandenBosch, Gil Phillip, Laura Callahan, Anthea
Gupta, Nick Caffrey, Remy Viredaz, Micahawl Swan.

 Scott J. Baxter
 Purdue University
 Department of English
 500 Oval Drive
 West Lafayette IN 47907-2038
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Message 2: the English so...that Structure

Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 19:50:24 +0000
From: Haiyong Liu <>
Subject: the English so...that Structure

Does anyone know of any recent literature on the English "so...that"
structure, particularly with so in a predicate position; for example:
 I was so quick that nobody noticed me. 
 Mary got so angry (that) she left without saying Goodbye. 

Thank you very much. 
Haiyong Liu
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