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jimregan at o2.ie
Thu Sep 1 23:39:27 MSD 2005
mso at oz.net wrote:
> Benjamin A. Okopnik wrote:
>>On Wed, Aug 31, 2005 at 11:37:04AM -0700, Mike Orr wrote:
>>>PS. What's the deal with incomplete "is" sentences? First Heather
>>>"the problem is that menu interface standardization isn't" , and now
>>>Thomas tells us his blogs "aren't". Aren't what? Existing? Is this
>>>jargon du jour? Or some conspiracy by the TAG editors?
> That's not the same thing though. :) It's clear that the missing
> predicate is "some conspiracy by the TAG editors". I'm talking about
> cases where there is no previous predicate. (i.e., where the previous
> predicate isn't.) It's worse than:
> -- Do you want an apple or a banana?
> -- Yes.
Ask an ambiguous question, get an ambiguous answer. In this case, the
question is doubly ambiguous.
Firstly, the question is being asked with an implicit second question:
'And if so, which would you like'. The second speaker doesn't see that,
and is presumably expecting a follow-up question.
Secondly: think back to when you were a school kid:
'Do you want some chocolate'
'I wasn't offering, I was just asking if you want some'
> -- [dumbfounded] What??
> -- I want both.
> That always throws me when people say that. But it's eventually clear
> they mean "both". But these "is" sentences, I'm not even sure what they
But that's just plain wrong. 'No' would be a somewhat correct answer if
you want both, as you don't want an apple *or* a banana (the only really
correct answer would be to ask if both are on offer). 'Yes' is correct
for either an apple or a banana.
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