Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 02:16:28 -0500
From: "Donald M. Lance"
Subject: Re: more on 'grow'

Not an abbiguity. A polysemy. People have recently started using the verb
'grow' in a new sense -- "to cause growth, or an increase in growth rate,
to occur." The extension of the agricultural term (planting seeds and
nurturing plants) to business would be in the use of "seed money" to grow a
completely new business.


>Apparently, some native speakers of AmEng do not think there is any
>semantic ambiguity in the tr. v. 'grow' when it is used with non-agri
>objects. I continue to think that there is. Consider a sentence I read in
>today's Knoxville News-Sentinel:
>> It plans to add some technical employees in the Knoxville office, but
>> the firm is not interested in growing a large employee base.
>The sense appears to be that the co. is not interested in increasing its
>number of employees. And the sentence seems to emphasize the lack of
>interest in a new entity -- "a large amployee base" -- not a lack of
>interest in increasing the size of its present employee base.
>Am I making sense?
>In other words, when we "grow the economy," we seem to "increase the size
>of" the economy or "improve the economy." There is no sense of "improve"
>in the above example, I think.