why cannot assign to function call

Tim Roberts timr at probo.com
Fri Jan 2 00:43:00 CET 2009

Aaron Brady <castironpi at gmail.com> wrote:
>I agree that the form of the 4th fragment is 'X and Y are' in
>general.  However, native speakers don't often use the form 'X and X
>are'.  This is the source of my protest, because X = the Morning Star
>= the Evening Star.  We don't say, 'G.H.W. Bush and the President
>are...', say, at Camp David.

Only now do I begin to see the point you were trying to make.  You chose
that specific example because the Morning Star and the Evening Star happen
to be the same celestial body -- the same object.

However, in grammatical terms, that is absolutely irrelevant.  For example,
"The car and the patent are white rabbits" is, grammatically speaking, 100%
correct.  Grammatically correct sentences do not have to be logically

Here's a counter example:
   The Pope and the Head of the Catholic Church are the same person.

I don't think any moderately proficient English speaker would have trouble
parsing that.

By the way, G.H.W. Bush was president from 1988 to 1992.  The President
today is G.W. Bush.  The current president doesn't have an "H".  There has
to be a pun about "getting the H out of there", but I'll leave that to the

>It is not that the meaning is unclear, it's just that form is never used.

Well, *I* use it.  ;)

>How all this relates to Python semantics is, if I say, 'a and b are
>the same object', the listener can get confused.

I'm inclined to disagree, but in contexts where it is important, I always
try to say "a and b are bound to the same object".
Tim Roberts, timr at probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

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