I was just watching the BBC TV stream (had to use a Windows box, my Mac can't get it). In a live broadcast from the outskirts of Basra, their correspondent Hilary Andersson in her hard-edged (for the Beeb) North England voice said: “What happened was, <pause>...” Beautiful; pure American, dragged into the mainstream, as near as I can tell, by Elmore Leonard.

I can't find any grammatical or etymological grounds on which to defend this usage, but to my ears it has both gravitas and rhythm. Which is a formula for longevity in everything from politics to the hit parade, so I hope it stays in the vernacular as long as I'm there. grep tells me that this usage has cropped up already (twice) in ongoing, and I'm sure it will again.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
April 06, 2003
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