The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

Re-parsing broken English

The All your base are belong to us text has sparked an interesting example of how English speakers understand their language. One of the original pieces of text is Somebody set up us the bomb. Often, however, this gets remembered as “Somebody set us up the bomb.” As a whole neither version makes sense, but the second is more correct in the particulars — which is presumably why people misremember it as that.

Perhaps that’s not so interesting after all.

Posted by jamie on January 3, 2005 15:49+13:00


Maybe our brains try to minimise the disjoints - so "Somebody set us up | the bomb" has only one, "Somebody set up | us | the bomb" has two.

Posted by: Anita on January 6, 2005 17:34+13:00