Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 08:27:11 -0500 From: "Joan C. Cook" Subject: a friend of mine (was Re: supervisor/coupon) On Wed, 8 Nov 1995, SETH wrote: > I often used the phrase "friends of mine" until an erudite friend > explained that "of mine" made the phrase redundant. I argued half-heartedly > that they could have been friends of someone else, but came to accept > the hypothesis and dropped the prepositional phrase. What say you all? I say that erudite friend of yours is missing a point. :-) Of course they could be friends of someone else. The "of mine" would perhaps be implicated, but if you think of Ellen Prince's familiarity scale, "a friend" is low enough on a scale of assumed familiarity that you almost always *have* to add "of ..." (of yours, of Steve's, of my neighbor's, of a guy I know). Perhaps these "of ..." phrases are cancelling an implicated "of mine," but perhaps "of mine" is just parallel with these other "of ..." phrases, and that's why it sounds right. Perhaps it's like, "a friend of a guy I know," which might seem (on the surface) redundant, but ?"a friend of a guy" seems to be missing something. Perhaps someone who's more awake than I am right now can provide a decent analysis. :-) --Joan *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* Joan C. Cook Imagination is Department of Linguistics more important Georgetown University than knowledge. Washington, D.C., USA cookj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] --Albert Einstein *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*