Posted by Probe on February 15, 2008 at 06:58:
In Reply to: Re: I would sooner eat dog... posted by ESC on February 14, 2008 at 22:03:
: : : : Do phrases come under certain grammar categories such as "I would sooner eat dog sick than play football" in other words you would rather do something really disgusting than something thats not too bad. We would like to know if the above type of phrase has a name?
: : : As far as I know, it's just a comparative expression, like "Some men would rather eat pizza than have sex." It may not obviously be a comparison, but "than" is used as it is in other comparisons. And it CAN be considered a comparison. Which would you rather do? Compared to playing football I'd rather eat dog-sick. (Is there really such a word as dog-sick?) It's quite possible that various technical terms are applied to the elements in the expression by linguists and grammarians, but as far as I know none are considered useful for ordinary purposes in the construction or analysis of sentences of this type. However, mine is a simplistic approach that you many not find useful.
: : : SS
: : As a comparison, it could possibly classed among the rhetorical tropes known as "syncrisis", but this could be faulted because your sample phrase simply takes advantage of the natural grammar of English ("rather ... than") rather than devising a "turn". An example of a true syncrisis should put the two halves of your comparison in parallel clauses, such as, "Let them play football if they like --- for that matter, let them eat dog sick if they like."
: : This comparison implies a reaching beyond mere dislike (your true feeling about football) all the way to disgust (your exaggerated expression of this dislike). Exaggeration for effect is called hyperbole.
: : The introduction of terms intended to provoke disgust is sometimes called cacozelia --- although caution with using this word: 'cacozelia' also, and in fact primarily, means *inadvertently* causing disgust by unnecessarily using rare words.
: I would rather be dragged through hell backwards.
In meaning it's very close to Russian "I would sooner (rather) hang myself...".
Is there any English expression mentioning suicide?