Date: Sat, 23 Sep 1995 13:43:45 -0400

From: "H Stephen STRAIGHT (Binghamton University,


Subject: Re: acceptability/grammaticality judgments, please

On Sat, 23 Sep 1995, Donald M. Lance wrote:

speakeris tooling along in the sentence and gets to "each" and says

"other" somewhat automatically. Then it's too much trouble to back up


jump on: One uses 'better' in comparisons of two, 'best' is appropriate

only when there are at least three persons to compare.

Until Donald M. Lance's posting came through it hadn't occurred to me

that, regardless of grammaticality or acceptability judgments, anyone

would think that "Kim and Dale think that each other is the best" meant

anything other than that Kim thinks Dale is the best and Dale thinks Kim

is the best. Donald, however, appears to believe that, rather than

describing a Kim and Dale Mutual Admiration Society, the utterance might

be a mangled way of expressing the belief that Kim thinks she is better

than Dale and Dale thinks that she is better than Kim! Is this what you

meant to say, Donald? If so, I strongly doubt that anyone would ever come

out with that sentence on the basis of that propositional intention. Do

we have any data on instances of "each other" and "best" that would

support Donald's interpretation?

Best. 'Bye. Steve

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H Stephen STRAIGHT LxC Binghamton University (SUNY)

Assoc Prof, Anthro and Ling Box 6000, Binghamton NY 13902-6000

Dir, Langs Across the Curriculum Tel: 607-777-2824 Fax: 607-777-2889