Emotive conjugations

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In 1948, Bertrand Russell, on a radio program called The Brains Trust, gave a joke example of an irregular verb conjugation:

I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool.

Apparently Russell referred to this construction as an emotive conjugation.

Here are a few more examples; I believe these are from a New Statesman competition to come up with other emotive conjugations, but Wikipedia (incorrectly, I think) attributes the first two of them to Russell:

I am righteously indignant; you are annoyed; he is making a fuss over nothing.

I have reconsidered the matter; you have changed your mind; he has gone back on his word.

I am sparkling; you are unusually talkative; he is drunk.

An about.com article from 2008 lists more entries from that competition.

I was thinking about this kind of thing the other day when a friend said something about me (to me) that put a positive spin on two less-flattering things others have said about (and to) me this year. So I combined the three into a conjugation:

I know my own mind; you like things to be just so; they have to have everything their way.

A few more pages with examples:

  • Ben Schott ran a Weekend Competition about emotive conjugations in 2010.
  • Time published some of the New Statesman winners in 1948, but the article (in their online archive) is available only to subscribers.
  • Craig Brown ran a couple of lists in a Telegraph column in 2004: 1, 2
  • Richard Lederer ran a contest in the Telegraph in 1969; he received 2000 entries, and published a few of his favorites.

I invite y'all to post conjugations of your own (or your favorites from other people's lists) in comments here. (They don't have to actually be about you, of course.)

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This page contains a single entry by Jed published on November 22, 2011 9:19 PM.

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