March 09, 2004

Parasitic gaps in the wild

Philip Resnik offers a naturally occurring parasitic gap example, noting that it is "one of the few naturally occurring parasitic gap constructions I've ever come across".

I have encountered my share of parasitic gaps in the wild. I offer my full collection below (ten examples). I am proud to say that it is quite diverse. I hope these examples are useful to linguists who are studying this topic.

To whet your appetite, I begin with the most exotic of the pack:

(1)   "Then there are some scenes that fill in the new blond Patricia Arquette incarnation's seedy history, and some scenes showing how deeply and ferociously attached to the blond Patricia Arquette Robert Loggia is, and some scenes that make it abundantly clear that Robert Loggia is a total psychopath who is definitely not to be fucked around with, or snuck around behind the back of with the girlfriend of."
David Foster Wallace. David Lynch keeps his head. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, p. 159.
(2) "Napoleon is one of those figures one can admire without particularly liking. Sigmund Freud is another."
Joseph Epstein. With My Trousers Rolled, p. 85.
(3) "Something you can desire without ever being expected to strive for."
Richard Russo. Empire Falls, p. 224.
(4) "Please Inspect Before Using! [...] Please inspect your documents before using."
(Fidelity Investments instructions for using new checks)
(5) "Yet the peculiar thing (which Justine had seen too often before to wonder at) was that he seldom took her advice."
Anne Tyler. Searching for Caleb, p. 45.
(6) "Or else the scandal is alluded to without being named [...]"
John Thorne. Simple Cooking, p. 198.
(7) "And the letter had that awkward, semibureaucratic, semi-messianic style she had grown accustomed to without ever liking."
John LeCarre. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, p. 164.
(8) "Brand-name foods contain things we've never heard of and should think about twice before allowing into our house."
John Thorne. Serious Pig, p. 318.
(9) "Homicide has such daredevil energy and intensity that it almost, but not quite, carries us past the many loose ends and red herrings that Mamet unleashes without knowing what to do with."
Phillip Lopate. When writers direct. In Totally, Tenderly, Tragically p. 319.
(10) "The roasted duck was first brought to the table in a copper sautoire for the diners to view before being carved."
Michael Ruhlman. The Soul of a Chef (p. 250.

A lot of these are from food writing. It could be a coincidence, but, then again, foodies are renown for their excessively gappy sentences (Remove from bowl; place on counter; knead vigorously).

Posted by Christopher Potts at March 9, 2004 01:06 PM