[lit-ideas] Re: For once in a way

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2015 06:16:33 +0000 (UTC)

ii. The report was, for once in a way, inconsistently right in describing 
his manner of life (for one first time)
iii. He seemed, for once in a way, to be at a loss for an answer. 
(Implicature: exceptionally, for one first time).
iv. I should like to bring you up your breakfast, for once in a way. 
(implicature: EXCEPTIONALLY -- as an exception, but don't expect it  everyday)

which should be enough to get at Wodehouse's implicature.>
This is specious because the same "implicature" arises in each case if we
truncate "for once in way" to "for once": so nothing in the above explains what
the additional words "in a way" add.

On Wednesday, 15 April 2015, 6:39, David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>

To prevent Geary from the merest hint of monism, let me express solidarity.  I
have never heard anyone say, "For once in a way," never seen it written
elsewhere, never imagined a character saying such a thing.  No doubt P. G.
Wodehouse's failure to learn to drive is important here.  He imagines ways as a
pedestrian or a driven man might, not as a continuum that requires
concentration but rather as a stretch of Macadam with "onces" in. 
"Oh look," says the passenger, "there's a once."
"Not now," says the driver, "I'm minding the bicyclist, who's in the way."

Life was a lot simpler when, as the brass plaque on the end of a bridge in
Perth reminds us, drivers were required to have a man carrying a flag walk in
front before they could cross over.  There were no piddling signs and
simulacra; there was a proper man with a flag to show the way.

David Ritchie,
West End of the Road

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