most commented

It’s all over the net: references to most commented articles, stories, posts, videos, photos, and the like — meaning (roughly) ‘most-commented-on’. A truncation not quite like the other examples of P absorption and P drop that have been discussed on Language Log, this blog, and elsewhere (notably here), although it shares with these examples that the missing P “is in some sense predictable from the immediately preceding context”.

A few examples (some are hyphenated, most are not):

Most-Commented Articles
The Most-commented article lists are updated every 15 minutes. (link)

Hot Air’s top 10 most commented posts in 2010 (link)

Most popular stories
Most viewed  Most commented  Most emailed (link)

The last example suggests another reason for P absorption with commented: the parallelism with viewed and e-mailed.

And there is still another possible reason: the existence of a transitive verb comment (with “transitivizing P-drop”; see here):

thanks for your interest and for commenting on my blog. Since you commented the posting about our radar settings on Jan Mayen, I guess you are interested in getting further information about snow radar measurments? (link) [note the contrast between the comment of comment on a blog and the comment of comment (on) a posting]

Paula, I read and commented the posting on your blog on blogging, and recommend that everybody else has a look (link)

When this story went live on our website, many viewers commented the article with thoughts of sorrow and sadness. (link)

Also Mementosecurity commented the article on April 27th explaining how “An IT contractor hired to fix some bugs in a recent computer upgrade used his system access to make fraudulent electronic transfers into accounts under his control.” (link)

From these examples, you can see that transitive comment is not simply a truncated variant of intransitive comment in comment on NP; in general, “transitivizing P-drop” is more complicated than that, usually introducing a semantic nuance not found in the intransitive construction. In the case at hand, comment NP conveys something like ‘add a comment to NP’.

At any rate, the transitive comment NP construction provides a source for commented as a modifier of NP.

Getting back to the modifier most commented: the alternative with commented-on is certainly attested, though I suspect it’s less frequent than plain commented. Some examples, with hyphenation and without:

Salted Water for Boiling Is Most Commented-on Recipe on Epicurious (link)

Alameda “Storybook Home” Most Commented-On Photo (link)

Top 10 Most Commented On Lists (link)

Top 10 Most Commented On Words (link)

[Addendum, on

Most Commented Widget
Add a widget to display a list of the posts/pages with the most comments. (link)

The NP here doesn’t refer to the widget that gets the most comments — that would be the reading with most commented serving as a predicating modifier, as in my examples above — but rather to a widget that lists the most commented Xs, for some X. That’s a nice example of non-predicating modification, with a more indirect relationship between the denotation of the head N and the denotation of the modifier.]


One Response to “most commented”

  1. Creating a buzz « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « most commented […]

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