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Chris -- 2015-05-30

#1 2006-09-27 13:09:46

Zinho
Member
Registered: 2006-03-09
Posts: 5

just assume vs. just as soon

I saw this on Slashdot today:

I’d just assume not have to connect via a USB -> DB9 dongle, but at some point, it’s going to be harder to buy computers that way.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.p … d=16209491

In context, he’s saying that he’d rather not use an adapter to connect two pieces of hardware as opposed to a cable with matching ends; with this meaning, “I’d just as soon not” appears to have been eggcorned to “I’d just assume not”.

A quick google search later, and I’ve found a couple of others:

“I am however very sorry to hear you had to see this film twice. I’d just assume gouge out my eyes.”
http://glass.typepad.com/journal/2005/0 … ith_d.html

So I’d like to go back [to Japan] in some capacity, and work—but not teach. I enjoyed it when I did it, but I’d just assume have a real job.
[then, later in the forum discussion] . . . I think you mean “I’d just as soon have a real job.”
http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/29448

So, we have here a homophonic substitution. It doesn’t parse well in my mind, but it’s possible the people using it really think that they’re assuming the condition that follows will happen if they’re going to be happy with the situation. Is this a borderline case?

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#2 2006-09-27 13:56:02

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

Sounds like there could be an ellipsis implied by the speaker:
“I’d just assume” = “I’d just as well assume”

But, it really does come down to context. If “assume” seems a bit out of place grammatically, then it simply may be doing an inadequate job of replacing “as soon.” (and that would tip the scales in favor of an eggcorn).

This seems to be the case in your example:
“I’d just assume gouge my eyes out.”

which sounds closer to:
“I’d just as soon gouge my eyes out.”

than:
“I’d just (as well) assume (to?) gouge my eyes out.” —which is just plain awkward.

In summary, I’d give the nod to the eggcorn designation.

Last edited by jorkel (2006-09-27 13:59:23)

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#3 2006-09-27 21:13:49

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

This is in the Database here: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/122/assume/

The comments section is worth looking at for this one, too.

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#4 2006-09-28 01:40:44

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

Zinho’s comment that this use of “assume” doesn’t parse well made me wonder whether some of the users of the phrase didn’t have the same feeling. The problem of course is that we would expect there to be an infinitive “to” after “assume” in this kind of construction. Sure enough, I found quite a number of examples in which the writers have added the infinitive particle to make “assume” work like a typical verb:

“We’d just assume to see him die in prison, or at least finish the rest of his sentence,” Walton said.
http://www.wkrn.com/nashville/news/ap-3 … o-michigan

I just assume to stay on the safe side.
http://www.fazed.net/forum/view/?id=24019&last

And when people that you don’t even respect gravel at your feet, as if you were some kind of God, you would just assume to piss in their face as look at them.
http://mediawatch.bluelemur.com/?p=547

Unfortunately the Islamofacists could care less about the Geneva Convention and its rules regarding those who are prisoners, they just assume to cut your head off.
http://www.poliblogger.com/?comments_popup=10718

With software, I don’t always think newer is always better. Most of the time I just assume to use older stuff, that works without fault.
http://www.slickdeals.net/forums/archiv … 80256.html

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#5 2006-09-28 04:55:47

rogerwilmot
Member
Registered: 2006-09-26
Posts: 2

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

The third quotation appears to be a double eggcorn, with gravel for grovel:

And when people that you don’t even respect gravel at your feet, as if you were some kind of God, you would just assume to piss in their face as look at them.
http://mediawatch.bluelemur.com/?p=547

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#6 2006-09-28 10:18:52

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

Let’s try this again…
I still think we need to think about ellipsis, and see what we can glean from it. Let’s start with an example:

Mike Sierra Uniform: November 2005
I’d just as soon assume that it was a female who did it. Engaged in a heated argument in which I defended Rikku’s hotness as superior to Lulu’s. ...
http://mikesierrauniform.blogspot.com/2005_1 ... mikesierrauniform_archive.html

Let me reproduce the above construction and give a bold font to anything that can be elided away:
I’d just as soon assume that it was a female who did it.

A few things to note here:
1. “As soon” must be followed by a verb: in this case, it’s “assume.” It could equally well have been “run” or “see” or anything else.
2. Given the verb selection “assume,” a subordinate clause (beginning with “that”) must follow.
3. “As soon” and “that” can disappear through ellipsis.

What we are left with is the kernel:
I’d just assume…
which must be followed by a subordinate clause (where “that” is either explicit or assumed). In my mind, this is the only context where “I’d just assume” makes perfect grammatical sense.

Now, let’s return to the fragment:
I’d just as soon…
which must be followed by a verb. For instance,
I’d just as soon run in the opposite direction.
This too makes perfect grammatical sense.

But now, suppose we replace “as soon” with “assume”, then we get:

Girls and God: September 2005
I don’t mind being honest when the news is good, but when I have to deliver bad news, well, I’d just assume run in the opposite direction. ...
http://girlsandgod.blogspot.com/2005_09 … chive.html

This is not a proper grammatical construction, and I would contend that “assume” is being used as an eggcorn substitution which draws on the meaning of “assume” suggested in the Eggcorn Database: “to take on or upon oneself.

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#7 2006-09-28 12:13:04

Zinho
Member
Registered: 2006-03-09
Posts: 5

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

patschwieterman wrote:

This is in the Database here: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/122/assume/
The comments section is worth looking at for this one, too.

Drats! I did a search, too, and didn’t find it. Does the search utility on the front page only search titles, not the contents of the entries? My search for “just assume” came up empty.

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#8 2006-09-28 23:32:15

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

Zinho—

Don’t worry about it—our search functions have gotten increasingly quirky. If you go to the Eggcorns Database page proper and click on “Google Search,” the “as soon”>>”assume” article is actually the first thing that comes up. But if you use one of the other search buttons on the site, you get nothing useful. I don’t know why.

I know these things aren’t working as they should, and I don’t point out that things are in the Database to slap people’s wrists, but rather to point them to the article. That’s all.

The sure-fire way of finding out whether something is in the Database is to go to the “Browse Eggcorns” button on the Eggcorns Database page.

Jorkel—

I agree that it’s possible that the sense of “assume” that means “to undertake something” may have an influence on this weird reshaping. But it falls far short of providing a complete explanation. First of all, eggcornish substitutions usually have a highfalutin or formal-sounding or obscure word replaced by something that’s a little more colloquial or “everyday-sounding.” There are exceptions, but that’s the usual pattern. In this case, the “to undertake” sense of “to assume” is somewhat formal and bookish, while the “just as soon” idiom is rather colloquial and quotidian. The idea that there’s an upward shift in register at work here isn’t impossible, but it seems a bit unlikely to me. Second, “to undertake” isn’t really a good fit with the way “assume” is used in most of these sentences; in fact, “to prefer” seems to me a lot closer to the meaning of the “would just assume” phrase. And “to prefer” isn’t a sense of “to assume” that I can find recorded anywhere at any time. Third, the “to undertake” sense of “assume”—like most senses of “assume” in current English—isn’t usually followed by an infinitive or any kind of verbal phrase; it’s typically followed by a noun phrase. (The OED does list an older usage of “to assume” that takes an infinitive; it means “to pretend, to claim,” and I don’t think it’s relevant here).

My point here is that this use of “assume” is pretty darn strange, and not easily explained. I think that it comes down to the simple fact that people are just plainly substituting “assume” for “as soon” because of the phonetic resemblance. And they’re either not worrying too much about the grammaticality of the resulting phrase, or their “grammatical imagination” is rather different from what one might expect. That last possibility is the one that really interests me. It suggests that at some level, this phrase might simply be grammatical for some speakers. And that’s weird and interesting.

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#9 2006-10-11 14:25:09

Zinho
Member
Registered: 2006-03-09
Posts: 5

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

patschwieterman wrote:

Zinho—
I don’t point out that things are in the Database to slap people’s wrists, but rather to point them to the article. That’s all.

No worries; I don’t take it personally. I just got excited about making a contribution, and I feel a little badly about making you waste your time (I figure marking a dupe is something you shouldn’t ever need to do). Please accept my humble apologies.

The sure-fire way of finding out whether something is in the Database is to go to the “Browse Eggcorns” button on the Eggcorns Database page.

Now that I know how I’ll make sure my next submission isn’t on the list before I post it. =)

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#10 2015-07-17 18:33:48

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2071
Website

Re: just assume vs. just as soon

A friend reported this, published, in the following form:

Whenever I see a movie about historical people who suffered, I try to imagine—especially if they are still alive—how I would feel if they were sitting next to me while I consume their suffering for my entertainment or enlightenment. I think if it were me, I would just assume have people read about it in their psych books rather than relive the experience in all its painful glory.

It occurs to me that just as soon indicates some sort of psychological (usually emotional) comfort with the situation described after the phrase, if not a downright preference for it. When you just assume something you may be expressing a similar kind of intellectual comfort or preference? Anyhow, it’s a weird one.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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