Re: python vs c#

Discussion in 'Python' started by Jan Dries, Oct 1, 2004.

  1. Jan Dries

    Jan Dries Guest

    Bengt Richter wrote:
    [... ]
    > I almost posted a similar comment ;-) OTOH ...
    > How many relevant points do you need to start a debate?
    > How would you answer that question?
    >
    > A few is enough?
    > A few are enough?
    > A few relevant points suffices, or a few relevant points suffice?
    > A small number suffices, or a small number suffice?
    > A dozen is sufficient?
    > A dozen are sufficient?
    >
    > I suspect that there are some semantic subtleties at work.
    > I.e., when you focus mentally on the few points as a single
    > collection, the singular forms feel right, but when you focus on
    > the few points as separate entities, plural forms feel right.
    > Thus you want the verb (e.g.,is/are) to agree numerically with
    > _some entities_, or with _a collection_, according to your focus.
    > I think some sentences can be read either way, depending on which
    > way your attention is directed (e.g. by word order and discourse
    > context etc.) "A few" can work as noun or adjective, it seems.


    IIRC from back when I was in school (long time ago), both forms are correct.
    At least in Dutch. Strictly spoken it should be "a few is enough" or "a
    number of people has died". But the plural form is also accepted, and it is
    called (with an expensive Latin term) "constructio ad sensum", i.e. you
    conjugate the verb in accordance with what the word represents, rather than
    with what it grammatically is.

    Regards,
    Jan
    Jan Dries, Oct 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. Jan Dries

    Steve Holden Guest

    Jan Dries wrote:

    > Bengt Richter wrote:
    > [... ]
    >
    >>I almost posted a similar comment ;-) OTOH ...
    >>How many relevant points do you need to start a debate?


    Well, terrific. Now I get to talk about one of my pet peeves. A friend
    just gave me a bumper sticker which, as a true (but hopefully liberal)
    pedant I had real trouble with. It reads "Some village in Texas is
    missing their idiot", and the reason for my perplexity was, while I feel
    the sentiment it expresses is admirable (though perhaps mistaken: I only
    wish George W Bush *were* as stupid as he manages to appear), I have to
    take issue with the grammar used to express it.

    This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.


    >>How would you answer that question?
    >>
    >>A few is enough?


    Correct.

    >>A few are enough?


    Wrong. "Some few are enough" might be acceptable. If there's only one
    few then the number of the verb has to agree with he number of the noun,
    so they should both be singular.

    >>A few relevant points suffices, or a few relevant points suffice?


    The latter, again to ensure agreement of number.

    >>A small number suffices, or a small number suffice?


    The former, again for the same reason.

    >>A dozen is sufficient?


    Indeed it is.

    >>A dozen are sufficient?


    This is a difficult call, because their is an implied subject of
    discourse. Technically I'd still insist that "A dozen eggs is
    sufficient" is the more correct, but I might let you get away with "a
    dozen eggs *are* sufficient" on the grounds that there the eggs (plural)
    are the subject rather than the dozen (singular).
    >>
    >>I suspect that there are some semantic subtleties at work.


    There certainly are. And one of the frustrations of living in America id
    watching those semantic subtleties dying if neglect at the hands of
    people who simply don;t realize that teaching people to *speak*
    correctly is teaching them to *think* correctly. I'm actually quite a
    visual thinker, but ultimately I believe that most of our intellectual
    product is the result of an internal, verbal, dialogue.

    >>I.e., when you focus mentally on the few points as a single
    >>collection, the singular forms feel right, but when you focus on
    >>the few points as separate entities, plural forms feel right.
    >>Thus you want the verb (e.g.,is/are) to agree numerically with
    >>_some entities_, or with _a collection_, according to your focus.
    >>I think some sentences can be read either way, depending on which
    >>way your attention is directed (e.g. by word order and discourse
    >>context etc.) "A few" can work as noun or adjective, it seems.

    >

    A lot depends on how pedantic I'm feeling. As I said in an earlier post
    this week, I'm much more prepared to let people break the rules when I
    think that they realize they *are* breaking the rules. I have less
    patience with those who either don't know (sad) or don't care
    (inexcusable) about the rules.
    >
    > IIRC from back when I was in school (long time ago), both forms are correct.
    > At least in Dutch. Strictly spoken it should be "a few is enough" or "a
    > number of people has died".


    Well that's Dutch for you. In English (as opposed to American, where
    pretty much anything goes) "A number of people *have* died" is correct,
    because the people died, not the number.

    > But the plural form is also accepted, and it is
    > called (with an expensive Latin term) "constructio ad sensum", i.e. you
    > conjugate the verb in accordance with what the word represents, rather than
    > with what it grammatically is.
    >

    Ultimately, language is intended to serve the purpose of communication,
    and we shouldn't be too upset to see it mangled as long as it serves
    that purpose. But when I hear politicians speak in sentences that don;t
    even make sense (and hear rooms full of people applauding them, making
    it obvious that no critical thought intervenes), *then I start to get my
    dander up. There'll be a special room in hell for people who don;t
    understand that language is *the* critical component of thought.

    > Regards,
    > Jan
    >

    good-heaven-is-it-really-that-time-ly y'rs - steve

    PS: The real joke is the mess that my recalcitrant fingers make of the
    pristine thoughts that they must so clumsily express. The security
    community describes my typing style as "excessive use of backsapce".
    Anyone reading what I type might be forgiven for thinking me illiterate,
    so on the grounds that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw
    stones" I try to avoid taking issue with the common-or-garden mistakes,
    since generally the world is kind enough to keep quiet about *my*
    inadequacies.
    Steve Holden, Oct 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. Jan Dries

    Steve Holden Guest

    Jan Dries wrote:

    > Bengt Richter wrote:
    > [... ]
    >
    >>I almost posted a similar comment ;-) OTOH ...
    >>How many relevant points do you need to start a debate?


    Well, terrific. Now I get to talk about one of my pet peeves. A friend
    just gave me a bumper sticker which, as a true (but hopefully liberal)
    pedant I had real trouble with. It reads "Some village in Texas is
    missing their idiot", and the reason for my perplexity was, while I feel
    the sentiment it expresses is admirable (though perhaps mistaken: I only
    wish George W Bush *were* as stupid as he manages to appear), I have to
    take issue with the grammar used to express it.

    This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.


    >>How would you answer that question?
    >>
    >>A few is enough?


    Correct.

    >>A few are enough?


    Wrong. "Some few are enough" might be acceptable. If there's only one
    few then the number of the verb has to agree with he number of the noun,
    so they should both be singular.

    >>A few relevant points suffices, or a few relevant points suffice?


    The latter, again to ensure agreement of number.

    >>A small number suffices, or a small number suffice?


    The former, again for the same reason.

    >>A dozen is sufficient?


    Indeed it is.

    >>A dozen are sufficient?


    This is a difficult call, because their is an implied subject of
    discourse. Technically I'd still insist that "A dozen eggs is
    sufficient" is the more correct, but I might let you get away with "a
    dozen eggs *are* sufficient" on the grounds that there the eggs (plural)
    are the subject rather than the dozen (singular).
    >>
    >>I suspect that there are some semantic subtleties at work.


    There certainly are. And one of the frustrations of living in America id
    watching those semantic subtleties dying if neglect at the hands of
    people who simply don;t realize that teaching people to *speak*
    correctly is teaching them to *think* correctly. I'm actually quite a
    visual thinker, but ultimately I believe that most of our intellectual
    product is the result of an internal, verbal, dialogue.

    >>I.e., when you focus mentally on the few points as a single
    >>collection, the singular forms feel right, but when you focus on
    >>the few points as separate entities, plural forms feel right.
    >>Thus you want the verb (e.g.,is/are) to agree numerically with
    >>_some entities_, or with _a collection_, according to your focus.
    >>I think some sentences can be read either way, depending on which
    >>way your attention is directed (e.g. by word order and discourse
    >>context etc.) "A few" can work as noun or adjective, it seems.

    >

    A lot depends on how pedantic I'm feeling. As I said in an earlier post
    this week, I'm much more prepared to let people break the rules when I
    think that they realize they *are* breaking the rules. I have less
    patience with those who either don't know (sad) or don't care
    (inexcusable) about the rules.
    >
    > IIRC from back when I was in school (long time ago), both forms are correct.
    > At least in Dutch. Strictly spoken it should be "a few is enough" or "a
    > number of people has died".


    Well that's Dutch for you. In English (as opposed to American, where
    pretty much anything goes) "A number of people *have* died" is correct,
    because the people died, not the number.

    > But the plural form is also accepted, and it is
    > called (with an expensive Latin term) "constructio ad sensum", i.e. you
    > conjugate the verb in accordance with what the word represents, rather than
    > with what it grammatically is.
    >

    Ultimately, language is intended to serve the purpose of communication,
    and we shouldn't be too upset to see it mangled as long as it serves
    that purpose. But when I hear politicians speak in sentences that don;t
    even make sense (and hear rooms full of people applauding them, making
    it obvious that no critical thought intervenes), *then I start to get my
    dander up. There'll be a special room in hell for people who don;t
    understand that language is *the* critical component of thought.

    > Regards,
    > Jan
    >

    good-heaven-is-it-really-that-time-ly y'rs - steve

    PS: The real joke is the mess that my recalcitrant fingers make of the
    pristine thoughts that they must so clumsily express. The security
    community describes my typing style as "excessive use of backsapce".
    Anyone reading what I type might be forgiven for thinking me illiterate,
    so on the grounds that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw
    stones" I try to avoid taking issue with the common-or-garden mistakes,
    since generally the world is kind enough to keep quiet about *my*
    inadequacies.
    Steve Holden, Oct 1, 2004
    #3
  4. Jan Dries <> wrote:
    ...
    > IIRC from back when I was in school (long time ago), both forms are correct.
    > At least in Dutch. Strictly spoken it should be "a few is enough" or "a
    > number of people has died". But the plural form is also accepted, and it is


    The Dutch are wondefully pragmatic...

    > called (with an expensive Latin term) "constructio ad sensum", i.e. you


    ....and so were the Latins.

    > conjugate the verb in accordance with what the word represents, rather than
    > with what it grammatically is.


    In Italian, this kind of freedom holds only for a few specific "idioms
    of collectivity" -- "un certo numero di persone", "una grande quantita`
    di persone", "la maggioranza delle persone". And even then, in many
    subcases, it depends on whether the verb expresses a collective action
    or a plurality of individual actions (some cases remain ambiguous).

    A rea-life example...: "La maggioranza degli italiani vive in un
    appartamento" ("A majority of Italians lives in an apartment", with the
    verb in the singular form) was once stated on TV by a politician and led
    to universal derision and unending jokes (even among his political
    allies) about how crowded that one apartment must be; in this case he
    should have said "vivono in appartamenti" ("live in apartments"), with
    the verb (and apartments;-) in the plural form. I suspect that this
    particular example does carry over to some other languages;-).


    Alex
    Alex Martelli, Oct 1, 2004
    #4
  5. Jan Dries

    Sam Holden Guest

    On Fri, 01 Oct 2004 02:34:33 -0400, Steve Holden <> wrote:
    > Jan Dries wrote:
    >
    >> Bengt Richter wrote:
    >> [... ]
    >>
    >>>I almost posted a similar comment ;-) OTOH ...
    >>>How many relevant points do you need to start a debate?

    >
    > Well, terrific. Now I get to talk about one of my pet peeves. A friend
    > just gave me a bumper sticker which, as a true (but hopefully liberal)
    > pedant I had real trouble with. It reads "Some village in Texas is
    > missing their idiot", and the reason for my perplexity was, while I feel
    > the sentiment it expresses is admirable (though perhaps mistaken: I only
    > wish George W Bush *were* as stupid as he manages to appear), I have to
    > take issue with the grammar used to express it.
    >
    > This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    > one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    > you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    > from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.


    Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    "The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000172.html

    --
    Sam Holden
    Sam Holden, Oct 1, 2004
    #5
  6. Re: python vs c# [gone OT]

    Ah, the joys of OT ... :)

    Steve Holden wrote:
    > Well, terrific. Now I get to talk about one of my pet peeves. A friend
    > just gave me a bumper sticker which, as a true (but hopefully liberal)
    > pedant I had real trouble with. It reads "Some village in Texas is
    > missing their idiot", and the reason for my perplexity was, while I feel
    > the sentiment it expresses is admirable (though perhaps mistaken: I only
    > wish George W Bush *were* as stupid as he manages to appear), I have to
    > take issue with the grammar used to express it.
    >
    > This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    > one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot".


    Although I agree with you, interpreting the noun "village" as a
    collective noun (http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/collectivenoun.htm)
    is a correct usage; therefore, it can be used with a plural verb.
    Of course, that does kind of change the sense -- all those
    people thinking wistfully of the idiot they lost ... :)

    (Incidentally, one of the more extreme cases I've seen was in
    England, where I saw an "out-of-order" sign at the entrance to
    the an Underground station that began "The London Transport
    regret ...." I tried to imagine all the individual personnel
    of London Transport feeling regret that that particular station
    was closed. Gee, what a compassionate people! ;)

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Stephen Waterbury, Oct 1, 2004
    #6
  7. Jan Dries

    Tim Roberts Guest

    Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >> IIRC from back when I was in school (long time ago), both forms are correct.
    >> At least in Dutch. Strictly spoken it should be "a few is enough" or "a
    >> number of people has died".

    >
    >Well that's Dutch for you. In English (as opposed to American, where
    >pretty much anything goes) "A number of people *have* died" is correct,
    >because the people died, not the number.


    I was going to object to this statement. I went to my good friend "Google"
    to look up some references but "a number of" is very common and thus
    difficult to search for.

    However, on the web site for "The American Heritage Book of English Usage,"
    I was reading the page on indefinite pronouns, looking for vindication,
    when I came across this sentence:

    A number of usage problems involving personal pronouns are questions
    of which case to use in a given situation.

    They don't explicitly give a rule, but it's clear that whoever wrote this
    sentence (presumably a stern-faced librarian) agrees with you.
    --
    - Tim Roberts,
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Tim Roberts, Oct 2, 2004
    #7
  8. Jan Dries

    Tim Roberts Guest

    Sam Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >> This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    >> one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    >> you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    >> from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.

    >
    >Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    >grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    >to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    >"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:



    Two points. First, that web page just QUOTES from "The Cambridge Grammar
    of the English Language." The page itself is just a blog, and everyone
    knows that "if you see it on a blog, it must be true." ;/

    Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
    a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
    be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."

    However, in the example that started this, "village" has no gender. Thus,
    I don't see that "their" is an acceptable alternative to "its" in this
    case.

    I love this kind of debate. I wish it didn't irritate people so much...
    --
    - Tim Roberts,
    Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
    Tim Roberts, Oct 2, 2004
    #8
  9. Jan Dries

    Dave Brueck Guest

    Tim Roberts wrote:
    > Sam Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >>Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    >>>one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    >>>you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    >>>from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.

    >>
    >>Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    >>grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    >>to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    >>"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

    [snip]

    > Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
    > a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
    > be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    > allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."


    It's now correct to use "their" in that way now? Yay! I'm glad the way I've
    always used it is finally correct. Take THAT, my English teachers of days long
    gone! Now if I could only convince them to happily split infinitives...

    -Dave
    Dave Brueck, Oct 2, 2004
    #9
  10. Jan Dries

    Sam Holden Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 14:38:34 -0700, Tim Roberts <> wrote:
    > Sam Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >>Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    >>> one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    >>> you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    >>> from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.

    >>
    >>Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    >>grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    >>to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    >>"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

    >
    >
    > Two points. First, that web page just QUOTES from "The Cambridge Grammar
    > of the English Language." The page itself is just a blog, and everyone
    > knows that "if you see it on a blog, it must be true." ;/


    Please check the Author of post on the blog and the authors of the book.
    You'll see they are the same. Here's the author's web site if you find that
    more authoratative:

    http://people.ucsc.edu/~pullum/

    If "the web" isn't a good enough source then you can call the
    University and check that way I guess.

    Maybe I should have provided some evidence, but I didn't think it was a
    hard author confirm (the book only has two and they aren't nobodies in
    their field).


    >
    > Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
    > a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
    > be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    > allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."
    >
    > However, in the example that started this, "village" has no gender. Thus,
    > I don't see that "their" is an acceptable alternative to "its" in this
    > case.


    From the blog you dismissed so lightly which is written by someone who must
    qualify as an "expert in the field":

    "Principal helps their employees" - Principal is a company.

    "Treasure Island's having their show right now." - Treasure Island is a
    hotel.

    "picked by Latina Style as one of their list of ..." - Latina Style is
    a magazine.

    Why is a village fundamentally different from a company, hotel, or magazine?

    --
    Sam Holden
    Sam Holden, Oct 3, 2004
    #10
  11. Jan Dries

    Sam Holden Guest

    On Sat, 02 Oct 2004, Dave Brueck <> wrote:
    > Tim Roberts wrote:
    >> Sam Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >>>Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>>This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    >>>>one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    >>>>you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    >>>>from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.
    >>>
    >>>Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    >>>grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    >>>to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    >>>"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

    > [snip]
    >
    >> Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
    >> a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
    >> be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    >> allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."

    >
    > It's now correct to use "their" in that way now? Yay! I'm glad the way I've
    > always used it is finally correct. Take THAT, my English teachers of days long
    > gone! Now if I could only convince them to happily split infinitives...


    From the same author and same blog I referenced before, an entry talking about
    his book "A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" says the following:

    The other shocking thing is more substantive. I just did a
    global search of the entire electroscript and found that nowhere
    does the book make the slightest mention of the concept "split
    infinitive".

    His proposed solution is to add to the glossary:

    Split infinitive: No such thing. Don't be a loony.

    For the full rant:
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001466.html

    He really is a Professor of Linguistics and not some elaborate web hoax :)

    --
    Sam Holden
    Sam Holden, Oct 3, 2004
    #11
  12. On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 16:36:33 -0600, Dave Brueck
    <> declaimed the following in comp.lang.python:

    > Tim Roberts wrote:
    > > be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    > > allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."

    >
    > It's now correct to use "their" in that way now? Yay! I'm glad the way I've
    > always used it is finally correct. Take THAT, my English teachers of days long
    > gone! Now if I could only convince them to happily split infinitives...
    >

    I suspect the grammarians gave in when the alternative
    gender-neutral construct of "Everyone brought his or her Python manual"
    (or worse "... his/her...") was deemed even uglier, and less likely to
    force into student's heads.

    Heck -- I still am waiting for a call to burn a lot of Andre
    Norton's older SF books, for the rather odd sounding greeting phrase she
    uses in her star-faring cultural milieu: Gentle homo, gentle femme, how
    may I serve?




    --
    > ============================================================== <
    > | Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber KD6MOG <
    > | Bestiaria Support Staff <
    > ============================================================== <
    > Home Page: <http://www.dm.net/~wulfraed/> <
    > Overflow Page: <http://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/> <
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Oct 3, 2004
    #12
  13. Jan Dries

    Steve Holden Guest

    Tim Roberts wrote:

    > Sam Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >>Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only
    >>>one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If
    >>>you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain
    >>>from posting on c.l.py for 48 hours.

    >>
    >>Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
    >>grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
    >>to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of
    >>"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

    >
    >
    >
    > Two points. First, that web page just QUOTES from "The Cambridge Grammar
    > of the English Language." The page itself is just a blog, and everyone
    > knows that "if you see it on a blog, it must be true." ;/
    >
    > Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
    > a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
    > be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
    > allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."
    >
    > However, in the example that started this, "village" has no gender. Thus,
    > I don't see that "their" is an acceptable alternative to "its" in this
    > case.
    >
    > I love this kind of debate. I wish it didn't irritate people so much...


    Well, as far as I can see (since you've admitted you're in this for
    fun), I agree that the stated use of "their" you mention was primarily
    for reasons of political correctness, to avoid arguments about whether
    "his or her" or "her or his" should be used.

    Of course Aahz would doubtless be able to quote the specific genitive
    form of "zhie", a word I have never been able to like, invented for much
    the same reason (and I've probably got the word wrong, since I'm
    definitely not a regular user).

    I must admit I didn't find the Cambridge quote at all convincing. And I
    don't mind irritating people ... now there's a nice ambiguity for you!

    regards
    Steve
    --
    http://www.holdenweb.com
    http://pydish.holdenweb.com
    Holden Web LLC +1 800 494 3119
    Steve Holden, Oct 3, 2004
    #13
  14. Jan Dries

    Steve Holden Guest

    Re: python vs c# [way, way, WAY OT]

    Sam Holden wrote:

    >
    > From the same author and same blog I referenced before, an entry talking about
    > his book "A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" says the following:
    >
    > The other shocking thing is more substantive. I just did a
    > global search of the entire electroscript and found that nowhere
    > does the book make the slightest mention of the concept "split
    > infinitive".
    >
    > His proposed solution is to add to the glossary:
    >
    > Split infinitive: No such thing. Don't be a loony.
    >
    > For the full rant:
    > http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001466.html
    >
    > He really is a Professor of Linguistics and not some elaborate web hoax :)
    >

    Well Linguistics isn't Language.

    Another pet peeve of mine seems only to be acceptable in American. Can
    anyone tell me why it's considered normal to say things like

    "One cannot do it, no matter how he may try", when it seems to me that
    the only sensible thing to say is "One cannot do it, no matter how one
    may try"?

    regards
    Steve
    Steve Holden, Oct 3, 2004
    #14
  15. Jan Dries

    Steve Holden Guest

    Sam Holden wrote:

    [...]
    > Why is a village fundamentally different from a company, hotel, or magazine?
    >


    Because they aren't missing their idiots?

    regards
    Steve
    Steve Holden, Oct 3, 2004
    #15
  16. On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 14:31:05 -0700, Tim Roberts <> wrote:
    >
    > I was going to object to this statement. I went to my good friend "Google"
    > to look up some references but "a number of" is very common and thus
    > difficult to search for.


    Not at all:

    "+a number +of * have" -- about 1,280,000 results
    "+a number +of * has" -- about 28,800 results
    Andrew Durdin, Oct 4, 2004
    #16
  17. c.l.py has its own ways: it reinvents Godwin's Law every week. But
    instead of invoking Nazis, it usually invokes linguistics or
    aesthetical discussions. It just takes a troll to start it.


    On Mon, 4 Oct 2004 10:23:58 +1100, Andrew Durdin <> wrote:
    > On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 14:31:05 -0700, Tim Roberts <> wrote:
    > >
    > > I was going to object to this statement. I went to my good friend "Google"
    > > to look up some references but "a number of" is very common and thus
    > > difficult to search for.

    >
    > Not at all:
    >
    > "+a number +of * have" -- about 1,280,000 results
    > "+a number +of * has" -- about 28,800 results
    >
    >
    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >




    --
    Carlos Ribeiro
    Consultoria em Projetos
    blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
    blog: http://pythonnotes.blogspot.com
    mail:
    mail:
    Carlos Ribeiro, Oct 4, 2004
    #17
  18. On Mon, 4 Oct 2004 10:23:58 +1100, Andrew Durdin <> wrote:

    >On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 14:31:05 -0700, Tim Roberts <> wrote:
    >>
    >> I was going to object to this statement. I went to my good friend "Google"
    >> to look up some references but "a number of" is very common and thus
    >> difficult to search for.

    >
    >Not at all:
    >
    >"+a number +of * have" -- about 1,280,000 results
    >"+a number +of * has" -- about 28,800 results


    Google seems to accept those quoted arguments, but I could not
    find '*' usage explained in the advanced search tips. Nor usage of
    special characters within quotes. Where did you find out about that?
    (And are you sure you need the +'s? The '*' does definitiely do something though.)

    Regards,
    Bengt Richter
    Bengt Richter, Oct 4, 2004
    #18
  19. Jan Dries

    Aahz Guest

    OT: Grammatical nitpicks (was Re: python vs c#)

    In article <>,
    Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >Tim Roberts wrote:
    >>
    >> Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases
    >> where a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is
    >> unclear or would be sexist. Instead of "Everyone brought his Python
    >> manual," we are now allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python
    >> manual."
    >>
    >> However, in the example that started this, "village" has no gender.
    >> Thus, I don't see that "their" is an acceptable alternative to "its"
    >> in this case.

    >
    >Well, as far as I can see (since you've admitted you're in this for
    >fun), I agree that the stated use of "their" you mention was primarily
    >for reasons of political correctness, to avoid arguments about whether
    >"his or her" or "her or his" should be used.


    "Their" was in common use as a singular pronoun long before political
    correctness existed as a phrase. Of course, we can also have a long
    debate about the misuse of "political correctness"...

    >Of course Aahz would doubtless be able to quote the specific genitive
    >form of "zhie", a word I have never been able to like, invented for
    >much the same reason (and I've probably got the word wrong, since I'm
    >definitely not a regular user).


    I'm not much of a grammatical analyst, so I don't know what you mean by
    "genitive form". The standard forms that I use are zie, zir, zirs, and
    zirself.

    >I must admit I didn't find the Cambridge quote at all convincing. And I
    >don't mind irritating people ... now there's a nice ambiguity for you!


    What meaning are you using for "nice"? ;-)


    PS: I really wish people would change the Subject: line more often; I
    almost skipped this thread because I have no interest in C#. I only
    poked my nose in 'cause Alex was posting.
    --
    Aahz () <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little
    statesmen and philosophers and divines." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Aahz, Oct 4, 2004
    #19
  20. Re: OT: Grammatical nitpicks (was Re: python vs c#)

    Aahz wrote:

    >I'm not much of a grammatical analyst, so I don't know what you mean by
    >"genitive form". The standard forms that I use are zie, zir, zirs, and
    >zirself.
    >
    >So the genitive (posessive) form is "zirs".
    >
    >
    Aaron Bingham, Oct 4, 2004
    #20
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