phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

'of' or 'with reference to'

Posted by Anders Klitgaard on September 19, 2003

In Reply to: Two story house posted by Anders on September 19, 2003

: : : Hi ESC
: : : While not being particularly well versed in country music, I do love Emmylou Harris. Her work suggests to me that the inverse is perhaps more likely, as it is more painful. That is, a married couple, living together, and drifting apart. This is the concept of classic country, isn't it? That is, true love, forever lost! This is Hank Williams too. Your suggestion, although certainly possible, is much to happy to form the basis for a typical country music theme. Or so I think.
: : : Best regards
: : : Anders

: : : : Wouldn't this make a great country music song title:

: : : : living apart together n.

: : : : A situation in which an unmarried couple live in separate residences
: : : : while maintaining an intimate relationship; a person in such a
: : : : relationship. --adj. Also: LAT.
: : : : --live apart together v.

: : : : (Word Spy: Sept. 18, 2003)

: : What I meant was the play on words -- living apart together -- is a staple of country music lyrics. Like this one: two-story house = a house with two floors & two story house = he said/she said:

: : Two story house
: : Tammy Wynette and George Jones

: : We always wanted a big two story house
: : Back when we lived in that little two room shack
: : We wanted fame and fortune
: : And we'd live life the way the rich folks do
: : We knew some how we'd make it, together me and you. . .

: : Now we live (yes we live) in a two story house
: : Whoa, what splendor
: : But there's no love about

: : (Man's voice) I've got my story
: : (Woman's) And I've got mine, too
: : How sad it is, we now live, in a two story house. . .

: Okay, I see what you mean. If it's typical of country music, I don't know. There's a name for this literary figure, you know, viz. Sophoclean irony. That is, saying something with a grim implication, which the speaker doesn't realize. Like wishing for a two story house, or saying, as does Othello, after arriving in Cyprus: "If it were now to die, 'twere now to be most happy." The sentence is intended as an expression of complete happiness and utter satisfaction, but to the reader/playgoer it has a darker implication.

: There's anoter characteristic of country music, or at least of Hank William's version of it, namely a wry sense of humour, as when he says of a river: "I'm going down in it three times, but Lord I'm only coming up twice."

: Cheers
: Anders

Forgive me my self-indulgence, to comment on my own post, albeit to criticize. I think ". . . as when he says of a river . . ." is better phrased: ". . . as when he says WITH REFERENCE TO a river. . ." The sentence is saying something about the speaker (he's suicidal); it's not saying something about the river, which is just the instrument with which he intends to kill himself. Do you agree that it's better to rephrase as suggested?