Why I literally get irritated by my own language!

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Sarkus, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    @wynn

    Two sentences.
    "I think that public clocks should be set to the right time or covered"
    "Public clocks should be set to the right time or covered"
    Which is better?

    We often clutter up our written thoughts with unnecessary padding.
    If you are not sure about something, say so.
     
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    That depends on the function of the speaker and the circumstances in which the respective sentences are uttered.

    If the speaker is the mayor of the town in which there is an issue with public clocks and he/she is speaking to the city counsel at a meeting devoted to said issue with clocks, the second sentence is in place.

    If the speaker is a foreigner in a town talking to a random person in the street, the second sentence sounds like being a moralizing busybody.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Fair comment.
    What do other people think?
     
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  7. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    Both sentences say the same thing. It seems obvious the second sentence is an opinion.

    If someone said "Public clocks must ... ", then that would imply feeling a rule is in place.

    Cluttering a sentence can make it beautiful though,
    is prettier than
    I love our language.

    Maybe you need to find better authors.
     
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Ohmygodkwhilbornisstalkingme! Hehasjoinedathreadafterididthereforebeingclearevidenceheisstalkingme!

    Right, paranoid hat off.

    The second sentence is more a statement of obligation/duty and does not necessarily imply opinion.
    The first is explicitly an opinion.

    Compare the following to illustrate what I mean:
    "Car drivers in the UK should wear seatbelts."
    "I think car drivers in the UK should wear seatbelts."
    The first, in this context, is a statement of obligation due to the law, and the second more clearly an opinion.
    There can be some overlap in meaning, sure, and as you say, the statement of obligation could be strengthened through using "must".
    But I think it is too specific to say that the two sentences say the same thing.
    I'd agree that the two could mean the same thing, but don't necessarily have to. As with many aspects of meaning within the english language, It depends upon context.
    I'd argue that if words add to the meaning or help paint a picture then they should not be considered "clutter".
    Clutter would be words that can be removed without diminishing the effect of the sentence in any meaningful way.
    So in your example I would not consider the additional descriptive words as clutter, as they add value.
     
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    2,834
    Which is better? Chocolate ice cream or vanilla?

    The word "better" itself implies an opinion unless you specify something like "better grammar".
     
  10. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    1. - question for Wynn : what do you mean by the word "seind" ?
    I could find no relevant definition for "seind".

    2. - for kwhillborn : I must disagree with your Post #24.
    The "I think that", as a preface, clearly makes it an opinion - to me at least.
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry, it was a typo, as I apparently didn't completely delete the previously typed before typing on. I meant "second," of course.
     
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    15,058
    Further example:

    "Talking to Tom is a waste of time."
    vs.
    "My conversation with Tom yesterday was a waste of time."

    To some people, both sentences are basically saying the same thing, namely, 'Talking to Tom is a waste of time' - as if this would be an objective, permanent fact. And that as such, anyone who has ever spoken to Tom and considered the conversation with Tom to be productive, must be mistaken, a liar, or morally and cognitively deficient.
     
  13. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    The first could mean that talking to Tom is always a waste of time,
    but it could also mean that talking to him about a particular subject is a waste of time.

    The second means that a particular conversation was a waste of time.
     
  14. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Grok'd
     
  15. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    I virtually know what you mean!
     
  16. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    If literally no longer means literally, what is the new word word for literally?
     
  17. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Something like "actual" or "actually" perhaps? Works for me.

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  18. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    But actually now can mean, "in common with what was said previously"

    Tom: I've got a new car
    Ted: Actually, I've got a new car.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    A quick trip to the thesaurus suggests:
    • Genuinely
    • Honestly
    • Plainly
    • Simply
    • Truly
    • Unexaggeratedly
    • Veritably
    • and Bona fide. This is normally used only as an adjective in English. But in Latin it serves almost as a prepositional phrase, "in good faith," so I see no harm in using it as an adverb.
    • It also suggests "not figuratively," which would be quite appropriate in the current era.
     
  20. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Honestly sounds good.
    I will never use literally to mean almost.
    Next thing they will be saying that "Egg's half price" is OK.
     
  21. venomatic Registered Member

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    @dumbest man on earth

    good point on the parkways/driveways
    :>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2013
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    When "literally" is used in its original meaning, the combination of the subject matter with the construction of the sentence usually makes it clear.

    Since the word is lately used as its own opposite, it is now often included in lists of auto-antonyms. Other, more established auto-antonyms include:
    • Cleave = unify or sever
    • Depthless = unfathomable or fathomable
    • Enjoin = encourage or prohibit
    • Fast = moving rapidly or not moving at all (as in "stand fast")
    • Let = allow or obstruct (as in the legal phrase “let or hindrance”)
    • Overlook = oversee or fail to notice
    • Quite = completely or slightly (as in "the bargain-priced takeout meal was quite tasty")
    • Sanctioned = approved or contraband.
    Other names for auto-antonyms include addad (an Arabic word), antagonym, antilogy, autantonym, contranym, contronym, enantiodrome, Janus word, and self-antonym.

    The phenomenon of auto-antonymy is also known as antilogy, enantionymy and enantiosemy.
     

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