August 15, 2004

In the Arms of Another Man?

In his resignation statement last week, Gov. James McGreevey's admitted that he had had "an adult consensual affair with another man,"a phrasing that came up in a lot of stories on the scandal. In the Week in Review section of today's New York Times, Adam Nagourney writes:

But when it came to the most distinguishing aspect of Mr. McGreevey's affair - that it was with another man - the governor seemed neither remorseful nor regretful.

I didn't notice anything odd about the construction before it was pointed out to me in an email from Mr. Gary Apter that another was hard to figure here -- I mean, would that be equivalent to "I had an affair with a man other than myself"? (It's a safe bet that when McGreevey told his wife about his dalliance, he didn't say, "I've been seeing another man," which would have added insult to injury.)

Maybe this slips by because an admission by McGreevey that "I had an adult consensual affair with a man" would seem to locate the transgression in the homosexual connection, rather than the affair itself. Or maybe it's because of the parallel to "another woman." I'll leave it to another linguist to sort this one out. Posted by Geoff Nunberg at August 15, 2004 12:50 PM