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Dismissed the service

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:08 pm
by Audiendus
"He was dismissed the service."

The above sentence, often used in a military context, is grammatically rather odd. What grammatical role does "the service" play here? Is there a particular name for this construction? Are there any other examples of it?

One can, of course, alternatively say "He was dismissed from the service".

Re: Dismissed the service

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:09 am
by bnjtokyo
Sorry, I can't help you with the syntax that is behind this expression. However, the Google Ngram viewer did not find many examples of "dismiss the service"
quote 1
To DISMISS, to discard. To DIsMIss the service, (Cong├ędier, Fr.) to take an officer's commission, or warrant from him
From the New and Enlarged Military Dictionary: in French and English, 1810

quote 2
. . . there should be some consideration regarding it even if a man is dismissed the service for drink or any other misconduct."
Parliamentary Debates by New Zealand Parliament, House of Representatives, 1914

quote 3
Critics who dismiss the service for emphasizing breadth over depth miss the point : AOL is about pop culture, not pocket protectors.
Wired Sep 1, 1995
But the meaning in this modern usage is rather different from that in the first two examples.

Re: Dismissed the service

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:23 am
by Audiendus
Yes, only quotes 1 and 2 are applicable here.

I think one could use a different (but related) noun, e.g. "he was dismissed the army/navy/force", but the construction only works with the verb "dismiss", and only in the passive. (The active form "to dismiss the service" is OK as a dictionary entry, but "they dismissed him the service" does not sound right.)

"Dismissed the service" has an air of great formality. "He was dismissed the firm" or "he was dismissed the job" would sound pretentious.