Syntactic analogy example

So Charlie Stross’s blog today had a very strange syntactic construction. Charlie was the guest of honor at an SF convention. Next year, he’s looking forward to attending, while not being a guest of honor.

Well, next year the eastercon is going to be held in Bradford, a city with which I am not unacquainted, and I’m really looking forward to not going to be one of the guests of honour!

Of course, it’s easy to see what he means — but something about “looking forward to not going to be” doesn’t ring true. (Partly this is because English has no future tense, despite all intuition to the contrary.) Clearly, another “ing” is needed. I submit that the obvious solution here is — and in a sense, this even sounds felicitous if you don’t think too hard:

I’m really looking forward to not goinging to be one of the guests of honour!

Works for me, anyway.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Author: Michael Roberts

One Comment on “Syntactic analogy example”

  1. Pedant Says:

    Perhaps I’m missing some subtle humor here, but to me the following fix of Stross’ awkward construction occurred immediately: “I’m really looking forward to not being one of the guests of honor”.

    I lack the technical vocabulary to explain this, but “I’m looking forward” already takes care of the future tense, so “going to be” is redundant. I’d argue that it is this unnecessary redundancy that feels wrong.

    OK, I’m fairly sure there’s a joke I’m missing!


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