Anaphoric island examples

A file of anaphoric island examples I’ve come across.

[types of anaphors: (supportive) DO, DO PRO (do it, do that, do both,…), DO SO, ONE, PRO (personal pronoun), (locative) THERE, VPE, WH, ZERO N]

1. ONE Addressed to City Hall, the letter originated from out-of-state, but officials yesterday wouldn’t say which one.
(“Third hazardous materials scare this week”, PADN 9/17/04, p. 6)

2. PRO From: Scott Safier
Newsgroups: soc.motss,
Re: home deliveries & hunkering down
Date: Wed Nov 24 06:43:42 PST 2004
Ann Burlingham:
> (i’m always willing to receive venison, if they get lucky and feel generous).

So are we. That’s what Champ’s brother is for — my sister-in-law doesn’t like venison but allows her husband to kill them.

3. VPE Scott Shafer, California Report, KQED radio, 4/11/05, about financial elder abuse:

Many cases go unrecorded, and those that are rarely make it to court.

4. ZERO N … one subincised person describes that his girlfriend likes the subincision because she can fellatiate him to ejaculation without getting any in her mouth …

5. ONE from a 8/04 review by “Mr. Joe” of escort Aamir in San Francisco on

He turned out to be by far the best experience I’ve ever had with an escort. He was also the first non-Caucasian escort I ever hired (and it might be a very long while before I can ever go back to one now). When I opened my door for him, in walked in the most beautiful, most exotically and strikingly handsome young man I ever laid eyes on.

6. DO SO 5/13/06, passed on by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, a form that begins:

Thank you for your order. Because you were kind enough to do so, we are offering you a special rate of only $12.00 for another year of Smithsonian Magazine.

[kind enough to order. But this one absolutely doesn’t work for me. Or elizabeth.]

7. DO SO from Gregory Ward, 5/13/06:
What do you think of this one:

Most antler hunters do so recreationally, says Mr. Hovinga.

Andy Kehler and I have collected quite a few examples of such morphologically transparent role nominalizations.
As for your example, I agree it’s not great (although I’m not sure it’s impossible). How about this variant:

Orders for tickets must be received by the 15th, so if you’re going to do so please allow enough time for mail delivery, which can be erratic.

8. PRO Ron Hardin, sci.lang, 5/27/07: Gloss for a Radio Japan audio clip:

“Reginald Ndesika, Radio Japan Swahili announcer, explains the complicated but significant Japanese system of garbage separation before throwing it away.”

[RH] It might be imperfect editing (“separating garbage before throwing it away”) or some non-native speaker effect.
[RH] Its effect though is surprising to me, as a mistake that’s more striking than you’d expect. I gave it a re-reading and a careful parsing before coming to terms with it. I’d expect it to just slip by.

9. PRO tv ad, seen July 2007:

If you’re a pet lover like me, you probably use medications like these from your vet to keep them healthy.

10. ZERO N From: Josh Jensen:
Subject: NPEs, too
Date: October 20, 2007 3:44:05 PM PDT
I recall reading (a few years ago) a Reader’s Digest article by a man who decided to get a “metrosexual” makeover. One of the pictures shows him being barbered by a fairly young, stylish bald man. The caption reads something to the effect,

“I’m nuts to get a haircut from someone who doesn’t have any.”

I initially filled in the NP slot with the only other NP that seemed to work (all the way at the beginning of the sentence), taking the caption to be slam on the hairdresser’s masculinity.
After a few more readings, I realized that I needed to extract hair from haircut. It made a lot more sense that way, but it wasn’t as funny.

11. VPE From:
Subject: AIC
Date: October 28, 2007 4:41:31 PM PDT

After morning church, I was having lunch with an older couple. We (the wife and I) were talking about the couple’s former pastor who could preach 45 min and keep everyone interested.
— Me: That’s a gift.
— Wife: And he is. He’s very gifted.

Even though I think the response “And he is” would have communicated, it was bad enough that she repaired it instantly. (I should note that the “And he is” was inflected as a complete sentence.)

12. VPE From: (Harry Altman)
Subject: Language log: Odd elliptical construction
Date: January 29, 2008 9:03:23 AM PST
I noticed two posts you made on Language Log about verb phrase ellipsis, and was reminded of a funny construction I have seen at least twice. I don’t really know anything of linguistics so I have no idea if there’s a name for this or what’s known about it. The two examples I can think of right now are the statements that “Constants aren’t and variables don’t” and that “Friendly fire isn’t” (probably worth noting that both are jokes, sort of). I was wondering if you might know any more about this.
[AMZ response referring to LLog #5043]
AZ, 10/20/07: More fun with VPE:
[on “one of those see-through blouses you don’t even want to!”]

13. DO SO from Anthony Kuhn on NPR’s Morning Edition 5/28/08, reporting on the Chinese government’s recruiting volunteers to oversee the distribution of disaster aid:

Critics say that the government usually presumes to oversee itself, and that whistle-blowers do so at their own risk.

14. THERE Rebecca Shapiro on ADS-L 6/24/08:

An English friend tells me that there is an “award” there for Americans with the worst British accent named after Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins”. . .

15. VPE title of column by Tom Bodett, reprinted in the December 2008 Funny Times, p. 21:

A Writer Who Doesn’t

[in text: “I am a writer who doesn’t write”]

16. ONE NYT obit head, 3/14/09, p. A14:

David G. Taylor, 79, Banker
Who Kept Failing One Afloat

17. PRO e-mail from Victor Steinbok 6/26/09:

A rather poetic piece of Chinglish syntax from a fortune cookie:
— Q. Why do some people have headaches?
— A. They never used it before.

18. WH World Wide Words #658, 9/26/09
“I’ve heard of new homes popping up like mushrooms, but grown from cuttings? That’s new!” Carolyn Barnes wrote that after reading the real-estate section of the Toronto Globe and Mail on 18 September: “The ivy-clad home, which was started from a cutting taken 25 years ago from Queen’s Park.”

19. VPE Malcolm Gladwell, “Offensive Play”, New Yorker 10/19/09, p. 52, quoting a football player:

“They cleared me for practice that Thursday. I probably shouldn’t have. I don’t know what damage I did from that, because my head was really hurting.”
[shouldn’t have practiced / gone to practice]

20. VPE e-mail from Gregory Ward 10/20/09:
Just heard this on this week’s “This American Life” program on NPR…

It’s a member of the class of cholesterol-reducing drugs — that’s what Lipitor does — reduce cholesterol…

Interesting case of anaphora and cataphora with a reverse cleft — the former has its antecedent in an “island”, the latter a VP.
follow-up from Larry Horn: Notice that the repair was deemed necessary, though.
cf. #It’s a member of the class of cholesterol-reducing drugs — that’s what Lipitor does.

21. VPE from the “Double Down” (1997) episode of Law & Order:

Prosecutor: You’ve already admitted you’re a murderer. Is it possible you’re a liar as well?”
Defendant: Why would I?

22. VPE (passed on by Gregory Ward)
From: “Judith N. Levi”
Date: January 19, 2010 7:48:45 PM CST
To: “ward”
Subject: funny sentence
Hi, Gregory. Dunno if you’re still collecting weird sentences, but on WBEZ’s program “Here and Now” today, I heard a man (I think a police officer) — whose own son died of some kind of overdose or in some other way connected to an addiction – say, “These kinds of losses are preventable, and I didn’t” (which I felt confident in interpreting to mean “And I didn’t prevent the one in my family”).

23. VPE from NCIS episode (“Witness”, from 2005) seen in re-runs:

A: Your petty officer won’t admit to any involvement.
B: I don’t believe he was [involved].

24. ONE from episode of Charmed:

I don’t think you’ll ever appreciate how much your mother loves you until you become one yourself.

25. THERE from Chris Hansen comment on my “molest” posting:

As my husband is Singaporean, and I’ve been going there for 16 years on-and-off, I’m familiar with the word “molest” used as a noun.

26. PRO Neal Whitman on

It was in the last chapter, where the author talked about the process of fossilization and the means of recovering them.

27. VPE tv show seen 10/31/11, details not recorded:

A: His office won’t admit to any involvement.
B: I don’t believe he was.

28. THERE Eric Wong, who helps run his Hong Kong family’s money through an investment office, TCG Capital, looks like a hedge-fund manager’s dream. He’s rich, young and, having been to university there, comfortable with American ways …
(“The crocodiles are coming”, The Economist 10/29/11, p. 93)

29. PRO

30. PRO I am not anti-vegetarian, but they seem to be anti-meat, and they seem to want to take that choice away from me.
(Arthur Brisbane, “In the Middle of a Food Fight”, NYT Sunday Review, 5/6/12, p. 9)

31. PRO A health report of 18 July on the BBC site about the risks of not taking physical exercise was spotted by Martin Wynne: “The public needed to be warned about the dangers of inactivity rather than just reminded of the benefits of it [i.e. activity].”
(World Wide Words #794 7/21/12)
[Gregory Ward in e-mail 7/21: once the [in-] prefix is accented (to signal the upcoming contrast), it reads much better.]

32. DO SO N N is the compiler of All Things Considered. We thank him for doing so.
(NPR’s All Things Considered, 7/24/12)

33. PRO [complex proper name]

“U.S.S. Wisconsin – which just happens to be Ryan’s home state”

34. DO SO w/ inferred antecedent, from Andy Kehler 10/16/12
One of the stranger ‘do so’ examples I’ve seen — this isn’t good, is it?

“As Ryan exited the building some minutes later, a small group of people, some of whom appeared to be homeless, seemed to engage Ryan, and the candidate stopped for several moments and spoke with them.
The campaign escorted photographers from the bus for Ryan’s exchange, but reporters were not allowed to do so [exit from the bus]. Ryan’s motorcade took off for the airport a few moments later.”

35. DO SO from Gregory Ward 11/7/12:
On 11/7/12 11:31 AM, “Laurence Horn” wrote:
Brian Williams of Obama:

I don’t think there’s been as remarkable a campaigner since FDR, who had to do so without the use of his legs.

36. ONE These young Texans say they’re ready to fight. They better be, because they’re going to get one.
(Wade Goodwyn, “Texas Democrats Aim For A Bright Future”, NPR Morning Edition 7/3/13)

37. ONE I can’t stay home, ’cause we no longer have one.
(Cordelia in an episode of Buffy)

38. ONE Standing before a crowd of fewer than 50 ex-soldiers are two senators – John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire – and one ex-senator who would like to be one again, Scott Brown.
(Economist story, “The mid-term elections: What they’re all about”, 11/1/14 p. 23)

39. VPE Daum is married now but makes clear that she did not see herself as the marrying kind, until she did.
(Roxane Gay, “Discomfort Zone”, review of The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum, NYT Book Review, 12/14/14 p. 13)

40. PRO He [MLK] continues to talk non-violence even as it continues to erupt all around him.
(from Gregory Ward 4/2/18, from “Back Story” podcast on the anniversary of the MLK assassination)

41. ONE [with proper name, so a use/mention ex.: cf. #33]
From Larry Horn in e-mail 8/19/18
Subject: Navigating those islands
In this case (courtesy Carl Hiassen’s Nature Girl), the relevant islands are (i) in Florida and (ii) in the morphosyntactic context below.

Background: a(n adulterous) couple lands at Tampa Airport en route to a supposed “ecotourism” adventure-cum-real-estate promotion (i.e. scam) through the islands of the Everglades and stop at the bar for a drink…

“The sound system was playing ‘Margaritaville’, so she ordered one”.

42. DO From Larry Horn in e-mail 12/11/18: … this is from a clipping from decades ago that I discovered while cleaning out my office; independent evidence suggests it comes from a U.C. Berkeley campus newspaper, so probably from the mid-1970s, which would be consistent with the sentiment expressed.

John Dalton, an economics undergraduate and part time smoker, said that he thought a law providing non-smoking areas in public places would be fair for both smokers and non-smokers. “I don’t think that non-smokers should have to put up with people who do, and it would not be that hard for smokers to smoke in special areas.”

43. ZERO N in an Economist article

“He conducted most of his career singlehandedly — the other having been blown off by a cannonball.”

44. DO PRO  Gregory Ward e-mail 12/17/18
Terry Gross in today’s “Fresh Air”:

He [Frederick Douglass] was a passionate writer and powerful orator. And he did plenty of both in the twenty years leading up to the Civil War…

45. DO Chris Kennedy e-mail 12/17/1
from today’s NY Times (p. A13 article about Ryan Zinke):

“The two men [Zinke and Bob Brown] have had a bit of a split recently over support for Mr. Trump – Mr. Zinke does, Mr. Brown does not.”

46. VPE in an AZBlog posting 1/18/19
“Cape Disappointment did not.”

47. THERE from Mike Hammond on Facebook 5/24/10:

Working on my Breton before heading off there [Brittany] next week

48. VPE Bob Newhart Show S5 E5 (1976):

Bob: What’s wrong with the shower drain?
Emily: It doesn’t.

49. DO SO NYT op-ed page (A21), 8/12/19, Jennifer A. Hillman, “How to Stop Trump’s Trade War”

… a hasty determination to name China a currency manipulator at least five years after it stopped doing so.

50. PRO (them) Ali Velshi on MSNBC, discussed in
… the African American vote, and what is motivating them in the coming elections [in South Carolina]

51. VPE from Gregory Ward e-mail on 10/1/21, from The Daily NYT Podcast, 10/1/21:

I said, “Well, let’s take a pregnancy test just to be safe” and it turns out I was. [clearly pregnant, not safe]



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