Trouble at participle headquarters

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John Atkinsons' Wrong Hands 10/2/2020:

They could also offer a calming link to "Does it matter if it dangles?" (11/20/2010), or some of Geoff Pullum's other classic discussions of the problem.

I've somehow managed to miss John Atkinsons' site until now — if it's also new to you, you're in for some fun. One of my other favorites:

And the most recent one:

The process of blending titles or idioms is a common source of amusement — does it have a name? I don't think I know one, but perhaps a commenter can help us.


  1. Yuval said,

    March 2, 2021 @ 11:22 am

    "Pastiche" comes to mind, sort of.

  2. Keith Clarke said,

    March 2, 2021 @ 12:37 pm


  3. matt regan said,

    March 2, 2021 @ 1:31 pm

    Before & After category on Wheel of Fortune.

  4. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 2, 2021 @ 2:07 pm

    Why not "By sending a few nouns after him, it will hopefully modify things."?

  5. KevinM said,

    March 3, 2021 @ 12:16 am

    @matt regan. Jeopardy, "inspired" by WOF (perish the thought!), has "Before and After" and, specifically, "Before and After at the Movies."

    Clue: Kathleen Turner goes back to high school to wed & become the widow of a Goodfella
    Answer (in the form of a question, of course): What is PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED TO THE MOB?

  6. J.W. Brewer said,

    March 3, 2021 @ 4:51 pm

    Isn't this sort of blended-title thing a sub-variety of what is reputedly called a "mash-up" by The Young People Today? Back when I was a Young Person, a few college town innerleckshuls who'd read too much French post-modernism might have called it "bricolage," but I don't think that term ever really went mainstream.

  7. Bartleby said,

    March 13, 2021 @ 11:11 am

    @Matt Regan: Isn't that Jeopardy?

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