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I cannot find a linguistic term for this phenomenon, and I wonder if it occurs elsewhere in English.

More and more we hear "but that's a whole nother thing", and I've recently even seen it in print. At first I thought it might be a case of metathesis, but I believe that occurs only within the word.

Any suggestions?

I hate it so much, and, to my dismay, I caught myself saying it the other day. [6]
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Hi,

I think this is something that originated in uneducated speech, but has now been taken up by more educated speakers who most often know it is not correct but use it in a rather arch and ironic manner.

Best wishes, Clive
CliveHi,

I think this is something that originated in uneducated speech, but has now been taken up by more educated speakers who most often know it is not correct but use it in a rather arch and ironic manner.

Best wishes, Clive
Not so with me. It just slipped out, and I was furious!
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a is used before whole (consonant)
an is used before other (vowel).

It's another with an adjective. How do we do that? an whole other? whole another? Neither. We split the word an when the adjective is inserted.

Note how an is distributed:
a whole n other.

We'll have to keep our ears open to see if this happens elsewhere.

a big n elephant? a red n apple? to turn a deaf n ear? a scientific n advance? a wrong n answer?


But maybe this new phenomenon is restricted to the word another.

How about a quick n other cup of coffee?
We need to take care of a tiny n other detail before leaving.
He already has two cars. Why would he need a new n other car?!

Emotion: smile
CJ
I don't know what the linguistic term is, but I think it's pretty cool. Luke says it in Star Wars: "But that's a whole nother year!"
Well, I hope I don't lose my "moderator" status over this -- but I actually kind of like "a whole nother." I would certainly never write it (yes, I know I just wrote it.), but in casual speech it doesn't offend me. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's correct -- but it has a certain appeal that I can't quite identify. Maybe it seems appropriate compensation for the words that lost their "n" over time -- like "a napron" becoming "an apron."

As far as Jim's examples, I think it should definitely be restricted to "another." "A big nelephant" just sounds ridiculous, but "a quick nother cup of coffee" sounds -- well, almost legitimate to me.

Now I will cower beneath my desk while the other moderators throw things at me.
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Hi Khoff

You won't catch me throwing anything at you because I have to admit to a certain fondness for the expression "a whole nother" too. Like you, I wouldn't use it in formal writing, though.

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Hi CJ

I found your creative concoctions very entertaining. Emotion: big smile

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Hi Philip

Here's a little something I found just for you:
http://www.awholenother.com/
Emotion: stick out tongue
YankeeHere's a little something I found just for you:
http://www.awholenother.com/

LOL!!! Hahaha, that was the best website I've ever seen...

Anyway, I'd never thought about that... I think "a whole nother" is much simpler to pronounce compared to "a whole another". I think if I had to say it I would say "a whole a nother", with a very reduced and weak "a" in front of "another". Emotion: smile
Hi Kooyeen,

I think "a whole nother" is much simpler to pronounce compared to "a whole another". I think if I had to say it I would say "a whole a nother"

But don't let's forget that there is no grammatical reason that one would have to or want to say this.Emotion: smile

Clive
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