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#1 2006-09-20 19:10:42

onlywayne
Member
Registered: 2006-09-20
Posts: 1

The war wages on

I noticed this in an email from a political action group called “Care2.” The first paragraph included the line, “As the war wages on, we need your help more than ever!” I’m guessing that the writer confabulated “wage war” and “the war rages on”.

I did a Google search and found a number of instances on some otherwise respectable Web sites:
http://www.informationweek.com/story/sh … D=10300480
http://www.harvardindependent.com/ViewA … cleID=9641
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington … lood_x.htm
http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=16942

Now that I see it in print in so many places, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a correct usage!!!

Last edited by onlywayne (2006-09-20 20:09:23)

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#2 2006-09-20 20:07:28

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1674

Re: The war wages on

Wow. This is really common. I googled “war wages on” in quotation marks and got over 17k raw hits.

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#3 2006-09-20 22:30:11

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1456

Re: The war wages on

Since this is a mix of “wage war” and “the war rages on” linguists would probably label it as an idiom blend rather than an eggcorn. (Not all of us agree with the exclusiveness of these categories). By the way, see the post entitled “Idiom blend or eggcorn” for some references on the subject.

By the way, from the historical perspective, I wonder if the expression “the war rages on” originated as an eggcorn of “wage war.”

Last edited by jorkel (2006-09-23 06:21:34)

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#4 2020-10-05 10:47:57

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2494
Website

Re: The war wages on

Liked this variation, with the battle that wages on being a raging one:

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to begin its new term on Monday while the raging political battle over the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wages on.

It was published: a Fox News story lede.


*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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#5 2020-10-07 06:56:47

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
From: Spain
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 453

Re: The war wages on

It’s an example of a ‘labile’ or ‘middle’ or ‘ergative’ tense. I’m not clear on the difference! We seem to have an instinct for what we don’t mind. Nobody objects to ‘a piano is playing’ or ‘the chicken is cooking’ but ‘war is waging’ seems wrong. I read somewhere that every year dozens of verbs acquire this feature of their passive no longer seeming necessary. It’s entertaining to ask oneself if for example ‘This wine drinks easily’ is acceptable or not (IMO it’s not but not everybody would agree)


On the plain in Spain where it mainly rains.

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#6 2020-10-07 08:22:19

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2494
Website

Re: The war wages on

Probably not (un)ergative ― that would be dropping the object and taking the subject of the transitive and using it as the only argument of the verb, as if it were “the army waged on” instead of “the war waged on”, or “I drink smoothly” instead of “this wine drinks smoothly”. (The war waging or the wine drinking are “unaccusatives”.) (Also fwiw it would be voice, not tense.) “Labile” I’m not used to but it seems facile enough to fit. “Middle” fits well enough, though usage of it is sometimes muddled. In any case, you’re right, in English we de-transitivize transitive verbs all the time, and do it in various ways. The kicker in this case is that the novel detransitivized verb sounds so much like a different intransitive ( rage ) already well-established in the same contexts.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2020-10-09 13:07:57)


*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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#7 2020-10-07 09:45:25

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2494
Website

Re: The war wages on

I don’t know if the rest of you get this feeling, but rages on sounds like fierceness to me, whereas wages on feels like slogging. “The war waged on” might be paraphrased by “the war dragged on”. Maybe.


*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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