August 17, 2005

Do so if you gotta

I've learned my lesson about misquotations in the New York Times, so I'm taking this one from today's Maureen Dowd column with a grain of salt (and added emphasis):

Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."

This is a nice example of do so anaphora in which the referent is not exactly syntactically present in the discourse (do so = "live my life / live the life I've got"). These types of examples (and even more striking ones) have been studied extensively by my colleague Andy Kehler in collaboration with Gregory Ward. Some of their joint papers are available in PDF format from Greg's publications page; their most recent statement, "Constraints on Ellipsis and Event Reference", appeared in The Handbook of Pragmatics (Blackwell, 2004).

The source of the quote in Dowd's column is, of course, George W. Bush. As usual (IMHO), Dowd puts it well, but I think Ann Telnaes puts it better:

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at August 17, 2005 07:37 PM