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5 comments on this post.
  1. Vox Rationis:

    “The phrase “taken back,” unlike “taken aback,” has no single strong idiomatic meaning. It could apply to one person “taking back” a gift, an army “taking back” territory, a person “taking back” an insult to a friend, and so on.”

    Context, my dear etymologist, will easily illuminate the different meanings for a native speaker!

    Besides, the idiomatic “taken back” is very strong indeed; why else would it be gradually replacing the dusty and hoary “aback”?

  2. Wilson:

    I never seen it used, but I think I would tend to confuse it with “I was taken back to (the time when)…” “I don’t think I was ever so taken back in all my life,” sounds like something powerfully triggered a memory. Granted there may more more context, but these kinds of phrases can also just be thrown out there

  3. Ashley Bailey:

    Besides, the idiomatic “taken back” is very strong indeed; why else would it be gradually replacing the dusty and hoary “aback”?

    Why else? Surely because the functionally illiterate are gaining influence and wealth in our society?

  4. Levicula:

    Well, if we’re going to be hopelessly pedantic and traditional, let me just say: I’m awful that a scholar of language would think so, but that’s a nice conclusion, so there is little else to say!

  5. Alan:

    I looked this up to verify before commenting on a student’s story. (Yes, Internet Generation, the apostrophe means it belongs to the student, not that there are multiple students.) In reading students’ (Oh, what does that apostrophe mean!? Tricky language!) stories I often come across misheard idioms. My first discovery was the phrase ‘mine as well’ intending to mean ‘might as well’. That was the first time I’d ever heard it wrong like that. I have to agree with the author that misheard idioms are a sign of auditory learners. I often think those same thoughts to myself, “you cannot have read much worth reading without encountering (said phrase).” To me, it is a sign of illiteracy, and the growing number of students using these meaninglesss phrases are demonstrating to me that we will eventually become an illiterate society.

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