Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Word Order Matters

The kids are in Film School after their summer day camp. (Mr. TootsNYC runs this*; he picks a film he thinks they ought to see, such as The Manchurian Candidate, and makes them watch it.)

Today's film was National Treasure, which was The Girl's choice (tomorrow The Boy gets his turn--it'll be Scooby-Doo).

She was gratified by the villain--he stays villainous all the way to the end, and is soundly defeated. She ranted about Spy Kids and similar movies, in which the villain gets converted to being a good guy at the end of the movie.

"You should be able to win, to defeat him!" she said.

Oh, I said--"Win over them--not win them over?"

Can you think of another example in which word order (no negatives allowed) completely change the meaning of the sentence?

*I just found out that the real reason he does this (so he claims) is that they can't make a mess in the house if they're watching movies!


The Ridger, FCD said...

Many phrasal verbs (or whatever you want to call them) lend themselves to this:

She turned him on - She turned on him

is my favorite example.

TootsNYC said...

ooh, ridger, that's cool!

I love phrasal verbs (and may I say it's nice to "meet" someone who uses that term so easily--I love the term "phrasal verb").