Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:34:04 EDT
From: RonButters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
I don't feel any more need to be
silent in protest when someone says
"Bless you" (How dare that stranger
not know my religious beliefs!) than
I do when someone says "Good-bye,"
that heavily theological expression
that "really means" "God be with you."
No, "Good-bye" does not "really mean" "God be with you" (whatever its
history). It "really means" 'this conversation is over' or 'I am leaving'.
"Bless you," on the other hand, has no meaning at all (other than 'I am being
conventionally polite by uttering this prayer formula'). The difference is
that "Good-bye" serves a conversational function, while "Bless you" has no
primary function whatever.