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Re: The...the...

From:caeruleancentaur <caeruleancentaur@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 16:01
>>> Sally Caves <scaves@> wrote:
>>>The higher the lower. Makes no sense--in English.
>>caeruleancentaur wrote:
>>The higher the pole vaulter went, the lower the spirits of the >>opposition sank. >> >>It really does depend on context. :-) >> >> Charlie
>Tim May <butsuri@...> wrote:
>I don't think that's what Sally meant. Certainly you can use "the >higher the X, the lower the Y" in context, but I don't think you >_can_ ever say "the higher the lower" as you can "the more the >merrier" or "the sooner the better".
Some folks seem not to have seen my little smiley face. It is my understanding that this icon is used when humor is intended. Now I doubt that anyone guffawed when he/she read it, but I still intended it to be a humorous response, because even I, who am not a professional linguist, but for whom English is my L1, know that "the higher, the lower" as it stands, makes no sense. But I believe my point is still valid, &, IIRC, I'm not the only one who made it. "The more, the merrier," as is, has meaning only because it is hallowed by time. I assume that everyone, including me, is referring to "the more people...." But were I to walk into a room with only two people in it & see 100 bottles of beer on the wall,, table and say "The more, the merrier," those in the room would know from context that I was referring to the bottles of beer. Given enough pole vaulting events, perhaps "the higher, the lower" would be hallowed by time. Charlie