Pedants United

A section to discuss matters not related to Chess in particular.
Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Oct 08, 2023 8:20 am

Surely 299K?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 08, 2023 4:04 pm

Andy McCulloch wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2023 1:46 am
Really, technically correct? As stated in the previous post, you must use the Kelvin scale. On this scale the temperature has increased from 286K to 293K. Hardly double.
Well, yes, I know you need to use the Kelvin scale (also taking into account Kevin's correction of the arithmetic). But it is technically correct to say that the value has numerically doubled from 13 to 26. That isn't the same as saying that the measure of the energy present in the system has doubled - which is more what is meant by "twice as hot". The better 'technically correct' phrasing would probably be something like: "the value of the temperature in London relative to the freezing point of water has doubled compared to the value of the temperature in Edinburgh relative to the freezing point of water". Which is what the Centigrade scale is shorthand for.

Back to the tall/short, old/young, thick/thin examples, there are good examples where you can say "twice as thin" and as Nick F said it depends on how specifically the concept of thinness (or whatever) is tied to the objects under discussion.

Paint thinner might not be a good example (that is more about dilution), but it feels OK to say that a brand of paint thinner is "twice as thin" as another brand. Though saying someone's hair is thinning twice as fast as someone else is an example of fast/slow (as thin has a slightly different meaning here). Would you say the other person's hair is thinning half as slowly?

If you are comparing a set of young objects with an older one, could you say that X is twice as young as Y when comparing both to the older object A? There are more precise phrasings, but you can see why, if thinness is an intrinsic property that this phrasing originally mentioned upthread might trip naturally off the tongue.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Tue Oct 24, 2023 12:45 pm

Browsing the news stand at WH Smith today. Daily Star front page main headline: Is there mice on Mars?

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:07 pm

It bothers me that there is a "Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities". You cannot "level up", you can only "level down". Using stupid jargon in the name of a Government Department is really awful.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Tim Spanton » Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:39 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:07 pm
It bothers me that there is a "Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities". You cannot "level up", you can only "level down". Using stupid jargon in the name of a Government Department is really awful.
English is a living language; see https://www.google.com/search?q=%22leve ... e&ie=UTF-8

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John Upham
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Upham » Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:49 pm

Paul Habershon wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2023 12:45 pm
Browsing the news stand at WH Smith today. Daily Star front page main headline: Is there mice on Mars?
I suspect that this was a typographical error. Surely, the intended headline was:

Is there mince on Mars?

or perhaps

Is there mince in Mars?
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Pedants United

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Fri Feb 23, 2024 6:11 pm

You can blame the Dungeons and Dragons games for that one, I think. (In D&D, and other level-based RPGs, your character has a Character Level, and when you reach a certain number of Experience Points, you "level up" and your character gets new and better abilities.)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:03 pm

John Upham wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:49 pm
Is there mince in Mars?
Well we have something called mincemeat that contains no actual meat, so who knows?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Tim Spanton
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Tim Spanton » Fri Feb 23, 2024 9:00 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:03 pm
John Upham wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:49 pm
Is there mince in Mars?
Well we have something called mincemeat that contains no actual meat, so who knows?
That's because the meaning of meat, or mete, has changed from 'food' to something more specific.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:27 pm

Saintly Susie has preached to us on many occasions that meanings of words change, and I almost accept that "silo", "prestigious" etc. can now mean different things, but you can't "level up".

One highlight of my career was when of our senior managers said the company was "prestigious". I agreed with him, and he said,
"Oh no, what does prestigious really mean?"
"Tricky - it comes from prestidigitation".
He did laugh.

(edit for spelling error - what a place to do it...)
Last edited by Kevin Thurlow on Sat Feb 24, 2024 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Tim Spanton » Sat Feb 24, 2024 8:45 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:27 pm
Saintly Susie has preached to us on many occasions that meanings of words change, and I almost accept that "silo", "prestigious" etc. can now mean different things, but you can't "level up".

One highlight of my career was when of our senior managers said the company was "prestigious". I agreed with him, and he said,
"Oh no, what does prestigious really mean?"
"Tricky - it comes from presidigitation".
He did laugh.
But the meaning of words is constantly changing - haven't you ever listened to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue?

Neill Cooper
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Feb 24, 2024 10:14 am

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:03 pm
John Upham wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:49 pm
Is there mince in Mars?
Well we have something called mincemeat that contains no actual meat, so who knows?
It contains suet, which is a meat product.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Feb 24, 2024 1:07 pm

"But the meaning of words is constantly changing - haven't you ever listened to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue?"

Of course. "Goblet - a little gob" is fine, but sometimes it feels wrong...

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:46 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 10:14 am
Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:03 pm
John Upham wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:49 pm
Is there mince in Mars?
Well we have something called mincemeat that contains no actual meat, so who knows?
It contains suet, which is a meat product.
And in fact it used to contain actual meat (on rare occasions, you still see versions of it that do)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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