Friday, October 16, 2015

Through -thing and -thin’

A footnote on anything and everything, because baseball . Those who know more about the sport than I do might know whether these expressions and distinctions are still in play.

The late Ring Lardner once said:

“I used, occasionally, to sit on the players’ bench at baseball games, and it was there that I noted the exceptions made in favor of these two words. A player, returning to the bench after batting, would be asked, ‘Has he got anything in there?’ (‘He — in there’ always means the pitcher.) The answer would be ‘He’s got everything .’ On the other hand, the player might return and (usually after striking out) say, ‘He ain’t got nothin’ .’ And the manager: ‘Looks like he must have somethin’ .’”

H. L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States, 4th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936).
Also from The American Language
The American a : The American v. the Englishman : “Are you a speed-cop? : B.V.D. : English American English : “[N]o faculty so weak as the English faculty” : On professor : Playing policy : “There are words enough already” : The -thon , dancing and walking : The verb to contact

[“Because baseball ”: I couldn’t resist that phrasing.]

comments: 4

stefan said...

There was an amusing story in the Times recently about "stuff." That's perhaps the modern equivalent. Pitchers have good stuff, bad stuff, wicked stuff, sick stuff, plus stuff, and mediocre stuff. Interested readers can learn more by searching for "The Mysteries of Pitching, and All That 'Stuff'" by John Branch. It's a fun article.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Stefan. Is there no room for “the right stuff,” or is that too plain a description?

opit said...

Does this somehow make less objectionable - encouraging, in fact - the epithet 'Get Stuffed'... as reasonable encouragement ? :)

Michael Leddy said...

I think you’d have to try it out and see what happens. : )