November 24, 2016

"It's my prayer that, on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve."



Very, very common resolve. You see why that's funny? I don't mean that it's so far from what Americans are ready to do after this hard-fought election — which just the other day Trump himself called "18 months of brutality in a true sense." And I don't mean to gesture at the accusations of fascism that could seek confirmation in calls for national oneness.

I mean the double "very" before "common resolve." He's clearly using "common" to refer to equally shared resolve. There are no levels of intensity to "common resolve." To put "very" — or "very, very" — in front of "common" undercuts the intended meaning and makes it seem more like the "common" that could have levels of intensity, which is inferior, cheap, low-class, or vulgar.

61 comments:

tim maguire said...

I thought the same. Common resolve is resolve we hold together. Very common resolve is crude, superficial resolve. The extra very is an example of how over-used intensifiers weaken prose.

Grant said...

I think he also has in mind, possibly subliminally, the most common sense of "common," "frequently occurring." That can readily be intensified by "very."

tim maguire said...

I didn't want to say "low class," but that is what "common" means in this use, isn't it?

The Vault Dweller said...

I'm certain most people who hear this, will hear it as the former rather than the latter. Sure it is not grammatically correct, but not speaking like a proper politician is what drew a lot of attraction to him in the first place.

Plus, if one didn't vote for Trump, but enjoys parsing language, think of all the fun that can be had over the next four years. It will be like George W. Bush all over again. No one should misunderestimate how much fun that can be.

The Vault Dweller said...

Tim Maguire said... I didn't want to say "low class," but that is what "common" means in this use, isn't it?

I haven't bothered to look it up, but I always thought of common as NOT high class. Which could include low-class, but I also thought included middle-class as well.

Bob said...

It seems to me that the use of "very, very" is an indication that Trump either wrote the address or was speaking extemperaneously - - he isn't noted for a...yuuuuge vocabulary.

Gahrie said...

i bet you guys give Neil Armstrong shit too.

In case you haven't figured it out:

A) One of the reasons Trump is popular is because he isn't the smooth, packaged politician.

B) The American people will understand what he meant, even if those who mean him ill-will, especially in the media, will pretend not to.

The shame is Trump is trying to bring the American people back together, and all that will be discussed is his misstatement.

rhhardin said...

Very very means including democrats.

rhhardin said...

The degree actually qualifies our.

DrMaturin said...

Or maybe it's just Trump's way of talking.

Owen said...

The extra intensifier compounds the error to the point of comedy, or of a child's effort to convey an idea so important that he can't keep his words straight. It's almost endearing, and I say that not mockingly but bemusedly.

Certainly it's part of his signature style. I doubt that he meant to get people talking about his awkward expression, but that's what they will do (look at us all!) and that will strengthen his brand and remind us of his message. Which is a good one, and one we surely can use.

Darrell said...

How do you know that he wasn't saying "vary" or even "vairy?"

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Slipping on Bascom hill is a very, very common occurrence. Yet doing so is not cheap, low class, or vulgar.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Come on! A very, very common resolve doesn't mean we will act well on it. See also: weight loss.

BN said...

Bigly and Yuge were out back taking a leak, so he grabbed the Very twins to stand in.

The important thing is that the pivot we all verily expected has finally begun. Turns out yo mama don't wear army boots after all. Let's all come together and heel our divisions.

Strick said...

I think he also has in mind, possibly subliminally, the most common sense of "common," "frequently occurring." That can readily be intensified by "very."

My sense, too. Some things are more common than others, so there's no reason the expression can't refer to how common the resolve is, that is how many of us share the resolve. Isn't that in keeping with a message urging us to take part and share the purpose?

Ken B said...

Someone once wrote here about taking Trump seriously not literally. A serious reading is clear enough -- it refers to the depth of commitment and sense of commonality implied by said common resolve. But he took two simple words and I needed a dozen with an abstract noun. And I bet most people understood him.

EDH said...

There are no levels of intensity to "common resolve."

I'm picturing a Venn Diagram.

Each side during the election had its own sense of "resolve", which often put them at odds. Overlapping is their area of common resolve. I think Trump was saying that region of commonality, as Americans, is more substantial than most people would assume.

Maybe we don't commonly use the word "intensity" to describe the size of an area, but "very, very" might be used to describe the substantiality or degree of congruence.

tcrosse said...

'Common' in the sense of shared. As in Common Cause or the Common Good. And a Very, very happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

madAsHell said...

He's not trying to communicate with our hostess. He's aiming at a demographic that doesn't even know how to diagram a sentence.

jp said...

He is talking to his people who are considered by the elites as inferior, cheap, low-class, or vulgar.

traditionalguy said...

Common means. Shared. Monarchy means rule by one. Hierarchy means a chain of command descending from the Monarch.

Since William Bradford's Mayflower Compact the common agreement has replaced the Monarch and hierarchy in these parts. We even go to war with monarch's Armies of Conquest.

Trump was affirming his winning Army.

Ann Althouse said...

"Someone once wrote here about taking Trump seriously not literally. A serious reading is clear enough -- it refers to the depth of commitment and sense of commonality implied by said common resolve. But he took two simple words and I needed a dozen with an abstract noun. And I bet most people understood him."

It would have made more sense if it were 2 words shorter. Cut the "very, very."

dwick said...

Yawn... more pedantry of the elites from one who evidently has nothing better to do.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You're very, very over-parsing. It emphasizes how much we do have in common.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I bet if he added a few "uh"s in there it would make more sense!

Dr Weevil said...

Gahrie:
What if it's not a "misstatement", but a misunderstatement? Would that be a dog whistle to supporters of G. W. Bush and other Bushes?

Bob Boyd said...

Trump's a complicated man
And no one understands him but about 60 million voters

Remember the theme music from 'Shaft'?
It's playing in your head right now... hear it?...oh yeah...

Who's the orange New York billionaire
With a hand on every derriere
(Trump!)
You're damn right!

Who's the man with the burning need
To risk it all on his twitter feed
(Trump!)
Can ya dig it?

Who's the cat that's not afraid
To talk border walls and foreign trade?
(Trump!)
Right on!

You see this cat Trump is a bad mother
(Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Trump
(Then we can dig it)
He's a complicated man
No one understands him but Ivanka
And the poorly educated
(Don Trump)

Original Mike said...

I was watching a rocket launch on TV years ago and after it was pretty much over the public announcer at Cape Canaveral declared that it had been "extremely nominal."

This Person said...

Right, because we are so used to polished grammar such as "he, he not doin' nothin'."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k00rLaU1zQ&spfreload=5

Of course, the LA Times, slayers of the double negative, told us BO said the man was "doin' nothin'."

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-obama-gets-testy-with-pro-clinton-crowd-1478299274-htmlstory.html

And the Washington Post was only slightly more honest (unintentionally, no doubt) when they quoted BO as saying "he's not doing nothing."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/11/04/watch-obama-defend-a-trump-supporters-rights-at-a-clinton-rally/

Rob said...

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers--and they were great great men, and married to great great women, I really mean that--brought forth upon this continent a new nation--that's true, it was brand new, the newest, best nation ever--conceived in liberty--I can see the press snickering about "conceived in liberty"; they're not worthy of this great country, am I right?--and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal--they really really are, and not just men, women too, nobody loves the women more than I do . . . ."

Michael McClain said...

Heh. Grammar lessons from those who praised the soon to be ex-President who referred to "corpsemen" and thought the U.S. was comprised of 57 states. The message was clear. As some elderly white woman once said, "Together, we are stronger."

Steve Uhr said...

What is Trump doing to heal the divisions other than say "let's move on .. let's stop playing politics and start governing ... Even thought he is president-elect, he is still an ass and I don't intend to start kissing it.

Laslo Spatula said...

Bob Boyd at 8:30 AM"

Love it. But the music is now stuck on in my head on infinite loop..

I am Laslo.

Bob Boyd said...

"But the music is now stuck on in my head on infinite loop.."

At least it's not 'Shake Your Booty'
Whatever you do, don't think about 'Shake Your Booty'

Mary Beth said...

To put "very" — or "very, very" — in front of "common" undercuts the intended meaning and makes it seem more like the "common" that could have levels of intensity, which is inferior, cheap, low-class, or vulgar.

It didn't read that way to me so I listened to it. I think he means that it's not just a superficial commonality but something that we share deeply.

Ken B said...

Althouse at 819 in reply to me issues my point. Very very conveys the message I identify precisely because it stands out. Like Lincoln's odd use of highly before resolve.

Gahrie said...

He's not trying to communicate with our hostess. He's aiming at a demographic that doesn't even know how to diagram a sentence.

That includes most English teachers today...it is no longer taught, and when I suggested doing so at my middle school several years ago, none of them knew how.

wildswan said...

In the whole speech by Trump "very, very common resolve" seems OK. "Very, very common" very, very commonly means "frequent". And Trump is calling for the country to move forward strengthened by a shared (common) purpose and a (widely shared) common resolve.

Christy said...

I find it vulgar (very, very common) to mock the grammar when the meaning was perfectly clear.

walter said...

Very true. Very, very true.

Richard Dolan said...

I find Trump's way of speaking, in a very, very common vernacular, quite refreshing, in an Archie Bunker way. And they're both form Queens. That's quite different from moving on up from the Bronx to Manhattan. People in fly-over country may not understand that there is nothing more very, very common than Queens. Good for him.

Trump has a well developed sense of how to make all the right people splutter and freak out. It won't necessarily bring us together-- what other than another Pearl Harbor or 9/11 really could? -- but it is quite likely to give him the upper hand in dealing with the politicos in Washington.

Michael said...

It is a common rhetorical flourish. Silly to parse it, an utter waste of time to preen linguistic in such a silly way.

Michael K said...

the use of "very, very" is an indication that Trump either wrote the address

Yes, it's the way he talks and the left and the glitterati will ridicule it for the next 8 years as he wins election after election.

I was very pessimistic about the economy until the election because, like most people, I expected Hillary to win and sink the economy beyond saving. Now, I'm not so sure.

Bush got a double whammy as he took office. First was the internet bubble that hit in Clinton's last year. Then came 9/11, which was a result of Clinton's feckless terrorism policies. "Of course we took terrorism seriously. We had meetings about it almost every week!"

Madeline Halfbright.

Anyway, Bush was underwater from the start and the 2000 election enraged the Democrats who refused to cooperate and ratify any of his appointments.

Trump has a more solid win and seems capable of ignoring the leftist babble.

Now, if California would really secede (after I get out of here), he would really be riding a wave,.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Bob Boyd,

Well done!

Fen said...

Gosh, if only Hillary were here instead to lie to us in the Queen's English.

Steven Wilson said...

While we're at it, why don't we eviscerate the preamble to the constitution for that jarring "more perfect union." I thought perfect was like pregnant, is, isn't, are, aren't. Sort of a zero sum phenomenon. Whereas Obama's use of language was so creative, original, meaningful and inspiring. Feel free to insert examples here............. Especially when speaking extemporaneously.

rcocean said...

Yeah, Trump needs to work on his "Speaking very seriously" style. But nothing is more humorous then hearing very, very, average people calling Trump "vulgar" or "stupid".

It reminds me of a dim bulb co-worker who spent 8 years talking about how "Stupid" George Bush was. This guy probably had an IQ of 120, worked at mid-level corporate job and couldn't even keep his marriage together or his kids in line yet he was calling George Bush "stupid".

He's probably in the poor house right now, ranting about how "dumb" Trump is.

mockturtle said...

I suppose it's typical of lawyers to dissect the trees rather than to survey the forest.

Paddy O said...

Some animals are more equal than others. So we need extra resolve that's equal equal, not just equal in terms of how equality has been used by progressive. And that means having resolve that's extra resolving.

R.J. Chatt said...

Trump never ever ran for a public office before, and yet he ran for the Presidency of the United States and he won. He's not only amazing, he's very very amazing. I'll let his occasional rhetorical flourishes slide.

Original Mike said...

Blogger mockturtle said..."I suppose it's typical of lawyers to dissect the trees rather than to survey the forest."

It's what they're trained to do. They are singularly unfit to lead. Much of our society's woes stem from the fact that most of our government is lawyers.



Achilles said...

Ann is operating in bad faith. The left does this as a matter of course. They take what someone says and purposely misconstrue the meaning and intent. They parse unfairly and assign meanings the speaker never intended.

The elites are fake. Their news is fake. Their stated intentions are fake. Many of their voters are fake.

Sessions is going to clean up immigration and the voter rolls. The fake people of the left are finished.

Qwinn said...

Original Mike:

"Much of our society's woes stem from the fact that most of our government is lawyers."

It's not most of the government. It's just the overwhelming majority of Democrats.

Compare the Presidential and VP nominees of the two parties in the last 30 years:

Democrats:
Obama: Lawyer
Biden: Lawyer
Kerry: Lawyer
Edwards: Lawyer
Gore: Failed out of Law Divinity School
Lieberman: Lawyer
Dukakis: Lawyer
Bentsen: Not a lawyer!!!
Mondale: Lawyer
Ferraro: Lawyer

Republicans:
Trump: Not a lawyer
Pence: Not a lawyer
Romney: Not a lawyer
Ryan: Not a lawyer
McCain: Not a lawyer
Palin: Not a lawyer
Bush II: Not a lawyer
Cheney: Not a lawyer
Dole: Lawyer! (Among a dozen other things though)
Kemp: Not a lawyer
Bush I: Not a lawyer
Quayle: Not a lawyer
Reagan: Not a lawyer

So, only one non-lawyer among the Democrats (Dukakis's veep, the least recognizable name in the entire list) and only one lawyer among the Republicans (Dole). I don't count Gore as a non-lawyer because he wanted to be one and only wasn't because he's an idiot.

So, yeah, this isn't a bipartisan problem. Remember this the next time someone claims there's no difference between the parties.

Qwinn said...

Oh, and I forgot, of course:

Hillary Clinton: Lawyer
Bill Clinton: Lawyer

JAORE said...

Some times a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes a speech habit....

Qwinn said...

Damn it, forgot yet another Democrat:

Tim Kaine: Lawyer

Steve said...

Lawyers are not only drawn to dissecting the trees rather than surveying the forest, but also then seek to convince you that the resulting toothpicks, when reassembled, would form a beautiful forest. That it, they parse language finely and then advocate for their side. They utilize ambiguity and vague wording in agreements or laws to gain an advantage over the unwary. Lawyers have trouble putting aside their reflexive dissection and advocacy, and are drawn to linguistic nit-picking. Of course, that is often amusing and occasionally enlightening, and thus draws us to read this blog. But you would be a fool to think the aim of a leader is to merely amuse and enlighten. The leader aims to help you find a way through that forest, and bring you home.

Gojuplye said...

So Trump has a very unique way of speaking

Green said...

Very, very unique.

Martin said...

Oh, lighten up.

He's a real estate developer, which means above everything else he is always selling.

NOT a professor of Law or English Comp.