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Austin: Loved your reduced American history when we saw it back in ~1997. Still think of "Grow a penis" when I think of Spiro Agnew. (Much funnier than "Grow a spine" or "Grow a snipe".) Anyway, no, the reduction hypothesis is not possible. Well, OK, maybe it's possible for LeBron, but not for the people who say "versed" or "versing". However, in the years since I wrote that post (and the previous one on Agoraphilia that I linked to), I have wondered how "versus" got reinterpreted as "verses" for plural subjects, as in "The Buckeyes versus the Wolverines". All I can guess there is that the reduced vowel between the S's is easy to overlook, so that it really does sound like "The Buckeyes verse the Wolverines." In response to Nancy, I think "verse/versed/versing" is here to stay, but "versus" will continue on as a preposition alongside its lexical offspring. Back to Austin: Ohhhh, now I get it! REDUCED!
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2009 on Halftime Show at Fritinancy
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Nov 20, 2009