Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 08:58:18 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: "Smell of"

If it was discussed with regard to 'smell' only then it is certainly not

complete. I don't remember the earlier discussion, but the use of 'of' with

sense verbs (taste, smell, feel) is widely distributed in the US south

(and, I suspect, has varying patterns of social significance). Note the

parallel with nominal forms of these verbs in such phrases as 'Take/have a

taste of this.' Danny Long pointed out that the 'of' appearance in verbs

appears to be limited to grammatical imperatives (pragmatically they are

often 'invitations' or 'offers'), and that would seem to even more strongly

relate them to the parallel nominal forms. If Danny is right, then 'Smell

of this' is gram matical, but 'I smelled of that rose yesterday' (with the

proper meaning - not 'I had the smell of a rose myself') is ungrammatical.

I'm not a sense-verb + 'of' speaker myself. Is that right for those of you

who are?


smell / smell of was discussed on ads-l last year some time. You might

look up the interchanges in the ads archives to see earlier comments.

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)353-0740

Fax: (517)432-2736