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#221741 - 07/31/15 03:45 PM Re: Double genitive [Re: Tromboniator]  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,018
endymion6 Offline
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endymion6  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,018
Hi ..when I saw the ref. to Gen. in the summary/contents page just now, I clicked and read the several most recent entries above ..Hope you won't mind my intruding to ask whether you've ever looked at something that makes me cringe whenever (increasingly frequently) I see it in print (usu. NYT) .to me, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard ..i.e., the use of the term ..

He (or she) is friends with ...Over the years, I'd written to Bill Safire, RIP, and various others at NYT to ask how agreement of subj./noun-pronoun number gets overlooked by alleged professionals; I've asked if they'd say 'he was enemies with..'

I hope this doesn't convey the impression I have little on my mind (if only because the truth hurts!) ..Thanks! joe (sorry to intrude)

Last edited by endymion6; 07/31/15 03:46 PM.
#221749 - 08/01/15 02:46 AM Re: To be friends with [Re: endymion6]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 923
A C Bowden Offline
old hand
A C Bowden  Offline
old hand

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 923
London, UK
I think "be friends with" is so common as to count as an established idiom.

My guess is that it originated as children's usage. It is possible that young children heard such expressions as "let's be friends" and subconsciously interpreted "friends" as a (predicative) adjective, which could be used with a singular subject also.

The usage could then have gradually spread to older age groups. But to my ear it still sounds vaguely "juvenile", despite its common use by adults.

#221750 - 08/01/15 02:46 PM Re: To be friends with [Re: A C Bowden]  
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endymion6 Offline
Carpal Tunnel
endymion6  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,018
thank you...

i agree, and really don't object to its use colloquially, as is true when i hear (and say myself) he/she is a friend of mine, as well as other similar expressions. but it nonetheless rankles me when it's in print in articles written for major newspapers & magazines.

thanks again .. happy summer!

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