Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 11:50:24 -0400 From: Ron Butters Subject: Re: Your mail Larry writes: >Quang cites the contrasts >Damn {God/*Himself} >Goddamn {God/*Himself} >to argue against the analysis in which >God is the underlying subject of such >verbs". I have never undestood this argument. It seems to me that "Damn!" is a shortening of "Damn it!" which in turn has the "underlying" structure "May God Damn it!" Who else would do the damning but God? How can anything other than God be the LOGICAL subject of "damn" (or "bless")? The fact that "*God damn himself!" is unacceptable to most people is irrelevant, since "May God damn himself!" is acceptable--the constraint is on the "deletion" of "May" before the reflexive. >By the same token, imagining oneself >in Heaven in the presence of the sneezing >Lord. Does one say >(?)Bless Yourself. >or, more likely >Bless You. >If my intuitions are correct, God cannot >be the subject of "bless" . . . >It's clearly an empirical question. Since this has never happened to me (or to anyone else who is signed up for ads-l) I'm not sure that it is relevant. I'm even less sure how this thought experiment is an "empirical" question. Nevertheless, I don't see why you couldn't say either one: "God bless you!" or maybe "Bless yourself, God." (The use of reflexives as a test for "subjecthood" is a bit murky, anyway, e.g., one can say either, "I aimed the gun at myself" or "I aimed the gun at me.")