Irregular Verbs

by Kieran Healy on September 18, 2003

Commenting on the whole Erik Rasmusen thing at Indiana, Dan Drezner and the voice in his head write:

… the cure for promulgated ideas that are believed to be offensive or wrong is more speech, not less. … What need there is for a review beyond that is truly beyond me. … [Wait, wait, you forgot the ritual denunciation of Rasmusen’s views on homosexuality.–ed. That’s completely irrelevant to this question. … however, it’s worth highlighting a fact that Louis Menand pointed out in The Metaphysical Club:

One of the triggering events for the emergence of academic freedom was when a Stanford University professor was fired for making a speech that contradicted co-founder Jane Stanford’s views on the matter. The professor made a eugenicist argument against Asian immigration.

Looks like one of those irregular verbs that used to come up so often on Yes, Minister. In this case we get:

bq. I make provocative analogies.
You draw inappropriate comparisons.
He is an idiotarian fixated on moral equivalence.



Jacob T. Levy 09.18.03 at 10:49 pm

The BBC thread omits what I thought were the two canonical cases– not conjugations of verbs but declensions of nouns and adjectives.

I belong to a religion [alternatively: “denomination”].
You belong to a sect.
He belongs to a cult.


I’m a patriot.
You’re a nationalist.
He’s a xenophobe. [alternatively: “racist.”]

(Multiple “Yes, Minister” posts in– what a week? I strongly approve.)


Ophelia Benson 09.19.03 at 12:21 am

Oh the canonical one is…um

I have an independent mind,

You are an eccentric

She’s round the twist.

I think that’s how it goes. And it certainly is how I see the world.


Dick Thompson 11.16.03 at 12:17 am

And of course the Russelian original

I am firm
You are obstinate
He is a pig headed fool


Sebastian Holsclaw 01.08.04 at 10:28 pm

I negotiate.
You bully.
He is raving warmonger.

Or in American hiring practices:

I give preferences.
You use quotas.
He is a racist who hates blacks.


Jurjen 01.10.04 at 2:20 am

And, of course,

I am a traveller.
You are a holiday-maker.
He is a tourist.
(Courtesy of “A bit of Fry and Laurie”)

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