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sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:30 am
by gdwdwrkr
The other evening a public radio commentator used "sooner than later" where she meant "sooner rather than later".
Such flakey shortenings don't cut it. Sure, it's easier to say, and everyone knows what you mean, but why not get it right? Taken literally, it reminds us of the order of time. But no, you have to stop and fill it in...."she means 'more likely to happen sooner rather than later'". By that time, you've missed her next revelation about the population of Dubai.

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:58 am
by Erik_Kowal
Is this a complaint about the commentator's use of English or the expression of a more general grudge against NPR?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:40 am
by gdwdwrkr
It is a comment on an example of the dumbing-down of the language.
I appreciate the work NPR's people do, while acknowledging the slant it delivers.
Is the use of "sooner than later" accepted usage and good writing?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:06 pm
by hsargent
Sooner rather than later
is acceptable to me . Leaving out
rather
is the error.

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:14 pm
by Bobinwales
Can I chuck "Sooner or later" into the equation?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:27 pm
by gdwdwrkr
Yes, but it removes the weight on the sooner side.

One further thought on "public" radio...including them in my initial reference actually implies the status at which I revere, if not their politics, their command of the language.

A cousin, for which a quick search of WW gets no results: "different than".....!

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:38 pm
by PhilHunt
I'm with Bob on this one.
I think the commentator simply mixed the two forms in a spooneristic way.
I see it alot in transcripts of tennis players speaking after matches.
Even the best commentators do this as they are speaking quicker than they can think.

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:11 pm
by Shelley
What if you're saying:
"I'd rather have it sooner than later . . . "
Wouldn't it be, well, if not redundant, then cumbersome to add another "rather" to it:
"I'd rather have it sooner rather than later . . ."

(I'm having deja vu -- did we talk about this before?)

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:33 pm
by PhilHunt
Substitute "I'd rather have it" for "I'd sooner have it".

I'd sooner have it now rather than later.
I'd sooner have it now than later.

The fact that I'd rather + verb may look like one rather too many doesn't make it wrong.

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:41 pm
by trolley
(I'm having deja vu -- did we talk about this before?)
Do you mean sooner than now?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:48 pm
by Shelley
Rather.

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:59 pm
by PhilHunt
Shelley wrote:Rather.
Is that said in a "ding dong, nurse bell" delivery?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:32 pm
by gdwdwrkr
How about, "I'd sooner have it later"?

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:44 pm
by trolley
I would just as soon say "not now"

Re: sooner than later

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:16 am
by John Barton
Shortening or lengthening? Isn't 'sooner or later' a redundancy of 'soon or late'? As in, e.g., "Death is a black camel that, soon or late,
Will come to kneel at every gate".