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"Until", the worst word in human history?


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#21 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1643

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:16 AM


"stop working" is an act which cannot be ongoing,

 

Actually, "stop working" is an act which can be ongoing. 

 

Stop working...

 

Stop breathing...

 

"Stop working until I say work."

 

If I never say work you will not have to work. 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


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#22 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19024

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:06 PM

"stop working" is an act which cannot be ongoing,

 
Actually, "stop working" is an act which can be ongoing. 
 
...

"Stop working until I say work."
 
If I never say work you will not have to work.
But I only stop working once, instantaneously; I can continue not working, but unless I restart working and stop again (another instantaneous event) I am not continuously stopping.

Not working can be continuous. Stopping work cannot be continuous.

Make sense?

#23 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4979

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:07 PM

 


"stop working" is an act which cannot be ongoing,

 

Actually, "stop working" is an act which can be ongoing. 

 

Stop working...

 

Stop breathing...

 

"Stop working until I say work."

 

If I never say work you will not have to work. 

 

No, it can't actually be used that way.  Well, when I say that I'm being a prescriptivist, which is bad.  I should say that I think using "until" in this way would be considered informal, and editors would change it in formal English.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#24 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19024

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:52 PM

One of the sticking points here is that the majority of native English speakers aren't that great at the finer points of the language and tend to only have a passing familiarity with what is and isn't actually technically correct.  There are many things you'll hear every day in conversational English that aren't technically valid and might be changed for formal writing or if your language was actually being assessed on correctness.



#25 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4912

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 06:23 PM

Not working can be continuous. Stopping work cannot be continuous.
Unless you are Windows Explorer! smile.png

 

If I do something like change an NTFS attribute on a folder with 10,000 files and eventually run out of patience because it takes minutes (on a SSD!), I'll often finding myself swearing and pressing the "Cancel" button. Sometimes, rarely, I'll find myself punching the monitor, because...

 

... Explorer, will display "Cancelling..." and continue being cancelling (i.e. "stopping") for quite a while. Which, ironically, can take just as long as letting it finish...



#26 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4494

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 07:52 PM

"stopping" is continuous. "stop" is not.

We have to be careful even when trying to debate these things, that the wording we use during the debate doesn't change from what we meant to say, lol. smile.png I had to try very hard to avoid using the word "until" to define itself.

Edited by Nypyren, 04 March 2014 - 07:57 PM.


#27 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4979

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:16 PM

One of the sticking points here is that the majority of native English speakers aren't that great at the finer points of the language and tend to only have a passing familiarity with what is and isn't actually technically correct.  There are many things you'll hear every day in conversational English that aren't technically valid and might be changed for formal writing or if your language was actually being assessed on correctness.

I sometimes wonder if informal, slangy English is actually more flexible than informal speech in other languages.  English gets constant influx from other languages via people who are learning English as a second language, plus the varieties of English in geographically separated areas (Australia, England, Scotland/Wales/Ireland, Northeast US, Southern US, Western US, Eastern/French Canada, Northwest Canada/Alaska, India...) are different enough from each other that there's constant hybridization going on.  On top of that the internet gives teens (the population segment that generates new slang the fastest) easier access to talk to others and spread their linguistic innovations than was ever possible historically.

 

Just in my own speaking I pick up new usages every year (especially from memes), and in 5 years I can go from thinking something sounds really bizarre and wrong to using it naturally and happily.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#28 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5242

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:47 AM


Just in my own speaking I pick up new usages every year (especially from memes), and in 5 years I can go from thinking something sounds really bizarre and wrong to using it naturally and happily.

Fo'shizizzle hashtag trudat yolo. Swag.


Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

#29 gasto   Members   -  Reputation: 272

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:30 AM

Ah, I finally see the potential ambiguity.  I was parsing the sentence fragment we stop working until our manager says so as having until our manager says so as an adverbial phrase modifying the intransitive verb working, with the word stop as a preposition.  The ambiguity comes if the phrase working until our manager says so is parsed as a noun phrase and the object of the transitive verb stop.  The latter use is unidiomatic and I would consider it pretty tortured English.  It is, however, grammatically valid and the meaning of the word until is still unambiguous, in that it refers to continual action that occurs before an event and has the exact same meaning in both cases.

Exactly:
We were either not working and therefore what our manager says determines the opposite(that we stop working), or we halted working indefinitely(stop working, which is valid because it turns continuous in such a context). and what our managers says determines the opposite(that we work.)

 

Some people don't realize how flexible English is. It comes with the price of confusion, though.


Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600, 2.4 GHz. 3GB RAM. ATI Radeon HD 3400.

#30 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1643

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:03 AM

If I wasn't born in America, I would find English to be very hard, especially with all of the slang mixed in.
My goal before trying to learn computer programming was to learn 7 spoken languages (still going to do this). I found all of them easy to pick up. People were saying it would be hard, but they are nowhere near as complicated as English.

Many have vowel sounds that stay the same, but in English the letter "A" alone has so many different sounds.

It might be that modern American English is a derived language of so many other languages. (How many different sounds for "A" in that last sentence?)

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#31 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4979

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:19 PM

 


Just in my own speaking I pick up new usages every year (especially from memes), and in 5 years I can go from thinking something sounds really bizarre and wrong to using it naturally and happily.

Fo'shizizzle hashtag trudat yolo. Swag.

 

Ab-sho'-lutely!  Because the internet.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#32 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10061

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:45 PM


Just in my own speaking I pick up new usages every year (especially from memes), and in 5 years I can go from thinking something sounds really bizarre and wrong to using it naturally and happily.

 

Yes. Because internet! [Edit] DOH! I see somebody else already said that. [/Doh!]


Edited by Tom Sloper, 05 March 2014 - 06:46 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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