“Quit” as Predicate Adjective
Does anyone else cringe at the use of quit in the commercial that says:
44% of … users were quit during weeks 9 to 12 of treatment.
The context screams for quit as a verb, not as a predicate adjective:
44% of users … had quit after nine weeks.
The OED’s entry for quit “in predicative sense” offers these illustrations:
When the book was restored the borrower [was] declared quit. (1866)
This charter confers the right of having one man quit from tallage in every royal borough. 1928
Ralph is not quit of his wartime melancholy. (1945)
He is tired of Sophina. He wishes to be quit of her, but she cannot afford to leave him. (1997)
The example from 1866 sounds a bit like legal jargon. The one from 1928 uses “from” where we might say “of.” Those from 1945 and 1997, which include the particle “of,” sound perfectly idiomatic.
When starting to write this post, I’d expected to argue that nobody uses quit with a being verb without the “of,” but I’ve found many examples of the infinitive phrase to be quit, mostly in informal writing in comments and forums, and mostly in connection with beating the cigarette habit:
I am grateful to be quit. It is 5 months and 3 weeks.
But one thing I have not lost sight of: How truly truly grateful I am to be desperate to be quit.
Smoking was a [habit] that had to be quit.
David Gelkin has it right – the idea quitting is always bad – is an idea that ought to be quit.
But after hearing Ms. Rice’s description of Christianity, I’m thinking it deserves to be quit.
Idiom is tricky. The statements with “to be quit” don’t offend my ear the way that drug commercial does.
Is it just me?
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