And so I found myself asking this for some sort of reassurance, which question would be fielded by AskMefi's language nerds with bewildering rapidity
April 20, 2009 1:42 PM Subscribe
In David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
he uses the word "which" in a way that I found unusual - a usage that is described under heading three here
. I think I'm fairly well read, but I can't remember ever having seen this before. I've been having (what I think are) migraines lately and I'm curious if I'm becoming linguistically befuddled, or if this is just an obscure or archaic usage. Examples after the jump.
posted by phrontist to Writing & Language (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First instance (emphasis mine):
Now I'm writing this sort of squatting with my bottom braced up against the hangar's west wall, which wall is white-painted cinder blocks, like a budget motel's wall, and also oddly clammy.
At first I thought it was a typo. I mentally rewrote the sentence as:
Now I'm writing this sort of squatting with my bottom braced up against the hangar's west wall, which is white-painted cinder block, like a budget motel's wall, and also oddly clammy.
And I'm assuming that doesn't change the meaning.
And as Inga and Geli of Hospitality walk me on and in (and it's an endless walk -- up, fore, aft, serpentine through bulkheads and steel-railed corridors with mollified jazz out of little round speakers in a beige enamel ceiling I could reach an elbow up and touch), the whole three hour pre-cruise gestalt of shame and explanation and Why Are You Here is transposed utterly, because at intervals on every wall are elaborate cross-section maps and diagrams, each with a big and reassuringly jolly red dot with YOU ARE HERE, which assertion preempts all inquiry and signals that explanations and doubt and guilt are now left back there with all else we're leaving behind, handing over to pros.
So am I losing it, or is this weird? Can anyone point to other examples? Is my title grammatically correct?