Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 11:54:02 -0700 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: "is is" (formerly "as best as") I'm with Bryan's mother. I've been hearing "the 'is' stutter" for a long time now, and it bothers me, too. I once even heard someone, I think on the radio, say, "The thing of it is is, is that (there are too many sheepdogs, or whatever)." Here at Linfield we have a computer director who will string together five or so "is's" before he quits spinning his wheels and resumes the sentence. The first such construction I ever heard was from a friend in a place where I formerly lived, who was wont to say, "The point being is..." Obviously he had reanalyzed "being" into a modifier of "point" and thus still needed a verb. Something of the sort must be happening with the "is is" utterances, though it seems less clear why. I, too, have always figured that "as best as" was a conflation of "as best (you can)" with "as well as (you can)." Peter On Fri, 25 Jul 1997, Bryan Gick wrote: > The recent thread on "as best as" reminds me of something pointed out to > me by my mother. She's been noticing, to her continual annoyance, that > seemingly respectable and well-educated TV newsfolk and politicians have > taken to saying "is" twice in some constructions, like: > > "The problem is is there are too many sheepdogs on the board of directors." > > This has the same intonation as -- and is presumbably an analogy from -- > constructions like: "What the problem is is..." > Anybody heard this? > > What the reason the "as best as" thing reminded me of this is is (whew) > that I suspect "as best as" is similarly based on analogy from "to do x as > best one can/could/etc." (without the second "as"). This sounds a bit > archaic to me and wasn't in my native dialect of NW PA, but I have heard > it often in other dialects. Much more common, of course, is the "" > comparative construction, and hence, presumably, the analogy. > Thoughts? > Bryan > > On Thu, 17 Jul 1997, Duane Campbell wrote: > > Watching the Senate Finance Committee hearings just now (I don't have > > much of a life), an attorney asked, "As best as you can remember . . ." > > It seems to me that in the last few years this phrase has almost > > completely replaced "as well as", even among well educated speakers. It > > grates on my ears. Am I wrong to think that this is grammatically > > incorrect, that you cannot compare a superlative? Is it language > > inflation? Or am I just being picky? >