Discussion:
Twice or three times
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Athel Cornish-Bowden
2019-11-29 09:31:59 UTC
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I am re-reading Ken Follett's book Lie Down with Lions. I've being
wondering about this sentence: "Twice or three times he had tried to
make love to her, roughly, in his sleep". Don't worry about the
plausibility, or not, of a man's making love while asleep (we know, of
course, that Supreme Court Justices could, when young, do it when their
victim was asleep, but that's not the same: even Quinn could probably
understand the difference). I wasn't thinking about that, but of the
first four words, "Twice or three times..."

I would normally say "Two or three times", though I might, if I treated
the "or three times" as a parenthetic after thought, cordon it off with
dashes or, in speech, with pauses, say "Twice -- or three times --
...", but I doubt whether I'd say or write what Follett wrote. How does
it sound to others?

(The more I think about the more I find Follett's version OK.)
--
athel
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2019-11-29 13:20:37 UTC
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On Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:31:59 +0100, Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
I am re-reading Ken Follett's book Lie Down with Lions. I've being
wondering about this sentence: "Twice or three times he had tried to
make love to her, roughly, in his sleep". Don't worry about the
plausibility, or not, of a man's making love while asleep (we know, of
course, that Supreme Court Justices could, when young, do it when their
victim was asleep, but that's not the same: even Quinn could probably
understand the difference). I wasn't thinking about that, but of the
first four words, "Twice or three times..."
I would normally say "Two or three times", though I might, if I treated
the "or three times" as a parenthetic after thought, cordon it off with
dashes or, in speech, with pauses, say "Twice -- or three times --
...", but I doubt whether I'd say or write what Follett wrote. How does
it sound to others?
(The more I think about the more I find Follett's version OK.)
Song lyrics are not definitive, however there is the song
"Three Times a Lady" by the Commodores.

Thanks for the times that you've given me
The memories are all in my mind
And now that we've come to the end of our rainbow

There's something I must say out loud
You're once, twice, three times a lady
And I love you

https://www.metrolyrics.com/three-times-a-lady-lyrics-commodores.html
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Times_a_Lady
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Snidely
2019-12-06 10:09:57 UTC
Permalink
On Friday, Athel Cornish-Bowden pointed out that ...
I am re-reading Ken Follett's book Lie Down with Lions. I've being wondering
about this sentence: "Twice or three times he had tried to make love to her,
roughly, in his sleep". Don't worry about the plausibility, or not, of a
man's making love while asleep (we know, of course, that Supreme Court
Justices could, when young, do it when their victim was asleep, but that's
not the same: even Quinn could probably understand the difference). I wasn't
thinking about that, but of the first four words, "Twice or three times..."
I would normally say "Two or three times", though I might, if I treated the
"or three times" as a parenthetic after thought, cordon it off with dashes
or, in speech, with pauses, say "Twice -- or three times -- ...", but I doubt
whether I'd say or write what Follett wrote. How does it sound to others?
(The more I think about the more I find Follett's version OK.)
I wouldn't be put out by it, in the model of the more common "once or
twice". "Twice or thrice" would be distracting.

/dps
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