The devolution of English language and slothful c.l.p behaviors exposed!

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at
Wed Jan 25 22:01:53 EST 2012

On Jan 25, 8:02 pm, Ian Kelly < at> wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM, Rick Johnson
> <rantingrickjohn... at> wrote:
> > On Jan 25, 6:20 pm, Ian Kelly < at> wrote:
> >> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM, Rick Johnson

> > My writing skills are not in question here, however your reading and
> > comprehension skills should be. How could you possibly know for sure,
> > beyond any reasonable doubt, that the writer was suggesting the final
> > exam was "easy"? In fact, the writer never even mentioned the word
> > "easy" at all! The writer only stated that the test was NOT
> > *difficult*. How does "not difficult" extrapolate to "easy".
> That may be the literal meaning, but English composition does not
> always follow the rules of predicate logic.  To me, the emphatic use
> of "to my surprise" in the construction "I expected X, but to my
> surprise I found it was not" implies not merely the literal "not X"
> but actually the opposite of X; and the opposite of "difficult" is
> "easy".

I am not arguing that the exam was not easy, maybe it was easy, i
dunno? But from the lack of detail given, we can never be absolutely
sure. The possible subjective "range of difficulty" lies somewhere
between easy and anything up to, BUT NOT INCLUDING, difficult. In that
sense the exam could have been easy, slightly easy, moderately easy,
or slightly difficult. Difficulty and difficult are not
interchangeable. Anyway, the point is we can never be sure of the
precision in this case, and using "pretty" offers the same level of
ambiguity as not using a quantifier -- even though pretty IS NOT a
quantifier :-). That is the connection i wanted you to understand.

> > *[Thought Exercise]*
> > Take a word like "applause". Let's say we want to quantify the level
> > of applause to some variable degree of precision. We could say:
> > "roaring applause", even though the base definition of "roaring" is a
> > sound an animal creates. You see "roaring" can make the transformation
> > whilst "pretty" cannot. Why? Because the base definition of roaring
> > refers to "magnitude of sound". In that sense, an applause can roar.
> > But the applause can never be "pretty loud" because pretty is 1) not a
> > quantifier 2) cannot make the transformation to quantify sound.
> > "Pretty" is not a quantifier, it's an observation, or an opinion if
> > you like.
> I will agree that "roaring applause", while a bit cliche, is more
> expressive than "pretty loud applause".

The phrase is not just more expressive, "roaring" IS a legit
"quantifier", with the power to inject magnitude and make the
transformation all WITHOUT perverting its base definition.

> That does not invalidate
> "pretty loud applause" as a meaningful phrase, any more than it
> invalidates "very loud applause" or "slightly loud applause".  I'm not
> interested in continuing a pointless back-and-forth over whether
> "pretty" is a real adverb, though, so I'll leave it at that.

I believe we'll just have to "agree to disagree" on the issue of
pretty. However, let's take a step back and view this issue from a
global perspective. Ask yourself:

Q: "Am i choosing my words carefully, or just blindly imitating others
to the detriment of my own thought patterns"?

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