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Alarm clocks going off

Posted by R. Berg on July 09, 2001

In Reply to: Alarm clocks going off posted by Bruce Kahl on July 08, 2001

: : Why do we say "the alarm clock went off" when it actually comes on.....
: And why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

George Carlin gets lots of money for asking questions like these in public. The alarm clock goes off in the same sense that guns and bombs and flashbulbs do--and, if it was set unpleasantly early, with a similar emotional effect. To say the clock comes on makes no more literal sense than to say it goes off. The clock came on? No, it was there all the time.