Talk:bang to rights

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bang to rights[edit]

Rfv-sense verb: 1 cite presented:

"Good week for: Cyclists, after Britain's most prolific bicycle thief was banged to rights.", The Week, 26 May 2007, 615, 6.
I think this warrants fuller attestation. DCDuring TALK 17:12, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
The OED has "1962 New Statesman 21 Dec. 897/2 - If I was making a book on the chances of my being banged to rights, you or any other punter could have 100 to eight to any amount." SemperBlotto 17:17, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Good enough for me. It just seemed a little weird because the corresponding US idiom dead to rights doesn't work that way, AFAIK. DCDuring TALK 17:43, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Not so fast. The cite we have would make it to be a transitive verb. But it doesn't seem to exist as a fully inflected verb. For example, I didn't detect "banging to rights". DCDuring TALK 17:50, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Also, google books:"banged him|her|them to rights" pulls up just one hit, a sexual pun; and google books:"bangs to rights" pulls up just one hit, and it's not a verb. And going through the hits for google books:"banged to rights", all of them seem to be participial/adjectival. This includes the ones that have an agent-like subject; in those cases we get "have ___ banged to rights", "get ___ banged to rights", etc.
Overall, I would posit that banged to rights is simply an alternative form of bang to rights, and we shouldn't be misled by its resemblance to a past-participle phrase.
RuakhTALK 21:18, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

With change of tense, there are three Google matches for banging him to rights and two each for her and them. It feels like a verb form to me, and the example sentence at banged to rights ("after Britain's most prolific bicycle thief was banged to rights") reads strangely if it's an adverb, in the same way that this would: "after the thief was red-handed". (Caught bang to rights has thousands of matches, and I'm not sure that bang to rights comprehends caught in itself.) Equinox 00:36, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Which Google? Books? News? Scholar? Groups? Web? If it's Web (and not also on one or more of the others), the hits are not at present considered "durably archived" and don't count for attestation. Also, if there are only 7 hits for something on the Web with a few inflections, that something is rare indeed. OTOH, you are right about the Adverb PoS for "banged to rights". I was thinking too much about dead to rights. Perhaps the cite should go to the citations page for that entry. DCDuring TALK 00:54, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Not heard it in this form, appears to be a variation on "put to rights" --YK30 19:09, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm not getting how banged to rights is an alternative form rather than past tense. Right now, to me it looks juvenile. I'm sure, apparently, I'm not getting the semantics of the phrase "bang to rights" or how it can work as an adverb. Is the word "bang" not really a verb in this phrase? Maybe we can etymologically/semantically explain this thing better, also explaining why "banged to rights" is something other than a plain old past tense. -- Thisis0 19:59, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

No variant of this phrase seems to be terribly common, which makes the Google-counts somewhat limited in usefulness, but as far as I can discern, the most frequent use of any variant of this phrase is of "bang to rights" as a predicative adjective in sentences like "He was bang to rights" or "We had him bang to rights". There is some use of "bang to rights" as a verb, but very little; the main thing that makes it look like a verb is the existence of "banged to rights", which is used mostly like "bang to rights". Since the two are pronounced the same in ordinary speech, it's easy to imagine (though admittedly hard to demonstrate) that "banged to rights" is an eggcorn/folk-etymology/something of "bang to rights", reanalyzing it as a past participle, with stray verb uses of "bang to rights" being backformations. —RuakhTALK 03:10, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Makes sense and I think you're right. I'm also seeing that "bang" isn't to be read as a verb at all, but rather an adjective/adverb, kind of like the "spot" in "spot on", or something like "precisely". And, "to rights" might be read as something like "rightfully". I totally think you're right about the "banged" re-imagining/eggcorn, and the existence of "banged to rights" sure doesn't help the understanding of the original phrase. Is there any way you can cite your theory? Also, since it was re-imagined as a verb, wouldn't that make "banged to rights" a verb phrase in wiktionary rather than calling it what we think it should be? -- Thisis0 05:05, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, there are lots of past-participle–like adjectives, either because they're actually formed from past participles (relieved, given), or because they're formed from another sense of -ed (bearded, wooded) or -en (golden, wooden). The existence of "banged to rights", used as an adjective, does not by itself prove re-imagining as a verb; and adjective uses seem to be much more common than clear verb uses. My preference would be to list it both as an adjective (alternative form of bang to rights) and as a verb (past of bang to rights), and tag the verb bang to rights with {{rfquote}}. —RuakhTALK 17:18, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done, I think. —RuakhTALK 15:04, 7 June 2009 (UTC)