Author Topic: on two accounts  (Read 2585 times)

Offline mallu

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on two accounts
« on: December 28, 2013, 11:21:02 AM »
I heard this sentence from a non-native speaker." I prefer this kind analysis on two accounts.
Clearly  He uses "on two accounts" to mean "for two reasons".Isnt it? Is the sentence O.K

Offline lx

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Re: on two accounts
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 01:24:07 PM »
That's tricky.

I would never say it, and if I heard it from a non-native speaker I might think they picked the wrong word, but if I was listening to someone I perceived to be a well-educated speaker and they used it, I don't even think I'd have any sort of question about it. It'd just go and be uneventful and would make perfect sense to me. It can't be considered wrong, in my opinion. What we'd have to say is whether it's natural or normal. Like I said, if I was listening to a lecture given by an educated native speaker, I don't think it'd even strike me as weird, but if I was having an informal conversation with a non-native speaker who often made similar mistakes, I do think it would stick out as being a bit weird.

Offline Corybobory

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Re: on two accounts
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 01:59:25 PM »
This totally sounds like something I'd hear and understand and assume it sounds native - though on close analysis it does seem a bit weird.
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Offline freknu

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Re: on two accounts
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 06:36:45 PM »
It might be an ellision of "I prefer this kind of analysis on account of two things".

Offline Daniel

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Re: on two accounts
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 07:56:19 AM »
It's definitely a blend of existing phrases by analogy.

There are four related phrases:
"on all accounts"
"on all counts"
"by all accounts"
"by all counts"

Personally I find "count" easier to count ( :P ), so that's where I'd see the actual numbers working better, but those phrases tend to have slightly more specific meanings (such as "measurements" or legal charges).

"by all accounts" is about 3 times as common as "on all accounts", so this may be one of the oddities:
Would "by two accounts" sound better? Yes, I think so.

"on all accounts" is, I think, a sort of idiom. It's not really a productive part of (modern) English, but it's still used. So using "on two accounts" is by analogy, not rule. That's sort of like saying:
"It's raining cats and dogs" > "It's raining pigs and sheep"
We can still understand the second one, but it sounds a little odd, because it's generated by analogy, not by a rule. And in this case, "two accounts" is much less abstract and much more literal, so it's not even that strange.

So in the end, you could say:
"by two accounts" or "on two accounts" -- "by" sounds more natural to me, although both seem novel.

I would not expected to here these in normal conversational English, but I wouldn't be extremely surprised by them either.

This might be an instance of non-native speaker innovation. For example, "homework" is a mass noun (uncountable), like "furniture", "luggage" and "water". But non-native speakers have said "homeworks" so often that now it doesn't sound very strange to me-- in fact, when I have the need to count "homeworks", I will use that form.

So it's non-native, but it's more or less valid. Interesting.
(Note: I'm a speaker of American English, in case that matters for dialectal reasons.)


Very short answer: you're right-- "for two reasons" is clearly the more normal way to say this. But the others are more or less ok too.
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