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“deal to”

Another oddity from my favourite source, The New Zealand Herald:

“Perhaps it’s time to deal to the ads that are just plain downers?”

It may be an undetected error or a misprint, but knowing the Herald, I’m sure the author, the proof readers, and the editors, all thought that “deal to” made perfect sense in the given context.

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I'm no particular expert, but the phrase 'deal to' sounds quite odd to me. I've never heard it used before. My best guess is that it may be a usage native to New Zealand as that is where the source is from.

R March 3, 2013, 2:19pm

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I googled "it's time to deal to" and came up with 16 hits. Apart from a couple of references to this post, they all seem to be from New Zealand. There's another from the NZ Herald:

League: It's time to deal to distraction

and a couple on NZ blogs:

With the EIIIs dispatched or run off it's time to deal to the balloons (

But now that the beach days are behind me, it's time to deal to the frizzy ends and flaky tan (

So it's time to deal to the unsightliness (

So it does indeed look as though it's a new Zealand thing. Good on them, I say.

Warsaw Will March 4, 2013, 6:16am

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It's not that strange really; think of - "Perhaps it’s time to see to the ads that are just plain downers"

Warsaw Will March 4, 2013, 6:28am

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More on "to".
1) I discovered via another thread here that there are some Americans that only know the expression "no end" as in "it pleased me no end" with an added "to" - "it pleased me to no end", which for me would suggest "to no good purpose". But no. It's just their version of the idiom.

2) In Bristol, they say "where is something/somebody to" - "Where's he to, then?" "Where's the bus stop to?"

Warsaw Will March 4, 2013, 6:44am

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Oddity is the spice to life?


Hairy Scot March 4, 2013, 7:11am

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@HS - Yes, of course (even with to!). Life would be very boring otherwise. But think about it, there is no logical reason why deal should be followed by with, or see by to. Like many phrasal verbs, they are idiomatic, not literal. They sound natural to us because we've grown up with them, but try telling a foreign learner they're obvious, they probably won't see it quite the same way.

For the same reason something that we are not familiar with may sound odd to us, but for people who are used to hearing them they are perfectly natural. Oddity is in the ear of whatever the aural equivalent of beholder is.

Warsaw Will March 4, 2013, 8:52am

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Sixteen hits on Google hardly bespeaks a well established usage. I got 34 hits for "ztghxp", which is just a random string of letters I made up.

Google indexes people's grammatical mistakes and typos just as much as their correct or intentional usages.

nigel March 28, 2013, 9:33am

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@nigel - but at least the example sentences in my links made sense, included two from the same (NZ) newspaper and hadn't been given red traffic lights by WOT (Web of Trust). I'd be very careful before clicking on some of your links!

Here are a few more "typos". Strange that the only people who make this particular typo all have New Zealand URLs and include official publications and MPs as well as news outlets:

So what if someone feels uncomfortable about the truth, we need to deal to the problems - NZ Herald

prevention is what we need to deal to heart disease.- Gisborne Herald, NZ

gone on for long enough and we need to deal to it - Kaipara District Council, NZ

And we need to deal to address some of the challenges posed by a changing society - NZ Department of Health

So we need to deal to it [pruning the over-growth] or there will be no fruit next year. - (and quite a few more from

.. undermine Auckland's progress to become an internationally-competitive, attractive city to live, work and invest, and which we need to deal to,” says Mr Barnett ... -

So to `clean up' Zimbabwe it will be necessary to deal to the Army Generals as well as Mugabe -

In New Zealand they are being labeled as lazy, untrustworthy and grasping and draconian legislation is necessary to deal to them - NZ Greens blog

RSA locals want to deal to attacker - NZ Online News

Third, we want to deal to the culture of welfare dependency - Act.Org.NZ

If we want to deal to crime, we must deal to the gangs - John Carter, (NZ) MP

In this news-hungry world, where we always want to deal to those who are ... Chester Borrows speaking to the NZ Parliamentary select committee - NZ Hansard

If you want to deal to it on a larger scale, spray with lime sulphur in winter when the tree is dormant - NZ Institute of Horticulture

Still typos?

Warsaw Will March 28, 2013, 11:10am

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I have oft commented on what I refer to as "antipodean oddities", or perhaps "antipodean idiosyncrancies" would be a better term.
One that has lately caught my attention is a growing tendency for radio ads touting non-prescription items to finish off with "Take as directed and if systems persist consult your health professional".
The reasons for not using the word doctor escape me, unless it is some politically correct notion aimed at avoiding offence to homeopaths and the like.
To me it is especially amusing that one of the most broadcast ads using this phrase is for a product named "Herbal Ignite".
"Herbal Ignite supports sexual performance and sexual health. It supports normal erection and sexual arousal. Herbal Ignite puts you back in control"

Gives a special meaning to "health professional".


Hairy Scot March 28, 2013, 1:57pm

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By searching a bit more systematically I've found a lot more examples, although even in New Zealand, "deal with" is vastly more common, see:

And there's an even stranger variation - some people have added "to" to the noun, to make sentences like (references in my blog piece):

Aldridge says going past Dickeson's mark means a great to deal to him

That sort of thing can mean a great to deal to gamers

which leave a great to deal to be desired

Warsaw Will March 29, 2013, 12:28am

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Yes     No