Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 20:38:30 -0500 From: Gerald Cohen Subject: Re: "as best as I can remember" This past July there were several ads-l messages dealing with the construction "as best as I can remember"; the consensus was that this construction is illogical, but I do not remember a clear explanation as to how it originated. I believe the construction almost certainly originated as a syntactic blend--a good example of which is "time and again," blended from "time after time" and "again and again." In the case of "as best as I can remember," let's leave off "remember" for the moment and operate with the following context: "I'll do it as well as I can" and "I'll do it to the best of my ability." These two can blend to produce "I'll do it as best as I can." With "as best as" now interchangeable with "as well as" (in this initial context), its use was extended to other contexts, e.g. "as best as I can remember." I have spent 20 years on and off collecting examples of syntactic blends in English--mostly those in "parole" (i.e. not part of standard speech). I refer interested readers to two items I have written on blends: 1) Gerald Leonard Cohen: _Syntactic Blends in English _Parole_ _ (=Forum Anglicum, vol. 15). Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 1987. 178 pp. --This work consist primarily of a long of syntactic blends, with the collection aimed at providing the raw material for further analysis and at emphasizing the frequency of syntactic blending in everyday speech. 2) Gerald Leonard Cohen: "Contributions to the Study of Blending." in: _Etymology and Linguistic Principles, vol. l: Pursuit of Linguistic Insight_, 1988, pp.81-94. I edit and publish this series. gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]