May 28, 2004

Squelch squelched, predecease whacked, induce terminated

Proposed strictly transitive verbs have half-lives as short as synthesized high-end transuranic elements. Lance Nathan at MIT squelches Adam Albright's suggestion squelch with a sentence off the web ( "I have been a participant in other online forums, grew dissatisfied with the rampant tyranny of political correctness and impulse to squelch, and therefore acted to whack together my own modest forum site." So much for squelch. He also kills predecease: "Where the husband predeceases, neither widow nor children can claim a right in any part of the heirship moveables" (Erskine, Inst. Law Scot., 1765, via OED). And M. Crawford writes with this example of induce with implicit object: "I'm really hoping I go before they have to induce because I've heard so many bad things about induction and how much more painful it is." (That's, about inducing labor to hasten childbirth, of course.) So, though one could quibble, that looks like three of Adam Albright's potential strict intransitive verbs gone. And more counterexamples are coming in over the transom all the time.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at May 28, 2004 06:13 PM