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On the Ground, Boots and All

The rebarbative and utterly supererogatory phrase, on the ground, bleated by all and sundry in current media speech, preceded or not by the word boots in military contexts, may owe its popularity to metrical structure, namely its anapestic stress (with boots serving as an anacrusis when prefixed). (Cf. at the end of the day, interpreted similarly in an earlier post.)

This shows yet again the persistent recurrence in English to poetic devices willy-nilly, heedless of the doggerelesque imprint features like alliteration, so prominent in advertising lingo, invariably leave on phraseology, thereby tending to push its units even further into the category of verbal pollutants.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO

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