Ten rules to becoming a Python community member.

Jason Swails jason.swails at gmail.com
Tue Aug 16 22:34:28 EDT 2011

On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 9:14 PM, Steven D'Aprano <
steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:

> David Monaghan wrote:
> > On Tue, 16 Aug 2011 13:13:10 -0700 (PDT), rantingrick
> > <rantingrick at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >>If conciseness is all you seek then perhaps you prefer the following?
> >>
> >>ORIGINAL: "I used to wear wooden shoes"
> >>CONCISE:  "I wore wooden shoes"
> >
> >>ORIGINAL: "I have become used to wearing wooden shoes"
> >>CONCISE:  "I like wearing wooden shoes"
> >
> >>However as you can see much of the rich information is missing.
> >
> > Indeed. Neither of your two concise examples has the same meaning of the
> > originals.
> The second one is considerably different. Consider:
> "I have become used to getting up at 3am to be flogged for an hour by my
> boss. Between the sleep deprivation and the scar tissue on my back, I
> hardly feel a thing any more."
> versus
> "I like getting up at 3am to be flogged for an hour by my boss. I get all
> tingly in my man-bits, if you know what I mean."
> The first case is more subtle. The implication of "I used to wear..." is
> that you did back in the past, but no longer do, while "I wore..." has no
> such implication. It merely says that in the past you did this, whether you
> still do or don't is irrelevant.

Meh.  We can come up with examples all over the place to support any of our
assertions.  The context is what matters.  In a newspaper article, you'd
often prefer to use "The president wore shoes" to "The president used to
wear shoes" because the extra words and space make a difference, and you
want to be concise while letting people know what happened.  In a public
forum catering to native and non-native English speakers alike, common
phrases like "used to" and "supposed to" are well known and understood.  As
such, I argue they are supposed to be used (to) often.

In such circumstances as these, I say keep your language concise and simple,
and your words will reach the most people (and the fewest killfiles,
perhaps).  As the wise man says, "It's not only quiet people that don't say
much".  (And here RR joins his silent majority).

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