Today's Dilbert strip reveals the ultimate pickup line for getting the romantic attention of women. It is supplied by Dogbert, who tells our hero, "Find a woman who looks hot, carve her out from the herd, and read this." He hands Dilbert an index card on which he has inscribed the magic three-word sentence. I don't think it would be right to exhibit the sentence here on Language Log. The words are too powerful.
There are, of course, given any finite set of n lexical items, far fewer than n3 three-word sentences. Perhaps you could even mentally riffle through the relevant set for English and guess the sentence. It is of course a simple transitive active clause; the subject is an abstract noun and the object is a personal pronoun. The verb is disyllabic, and of Latin origin. The line seems to work for Dilbert.Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at February 24, 2008 09:41 AM