interactive help on the base object

Gregory Ewing greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Dec 9 00:15:19 CET 2013


Mark Janssen wrote:
> Mr. Ewing says "base" has to be interpreted as an *adjective* because
> otherwise it would mean the BOTTOM (like the BASE of the pyramid),

Not exactly -- a native English speaker would say something
like "the bottommost class" if that's what they meant.

Or they would say "the most basic class" to mean the simplest
one -- but that's not quite what we mean either.

The only way that "most base class" makes grammatical sense
is if you interpret "base" as meaning "undesirable", as in
"base metal" (i.e. a non-precious metal), "base instinct"
(the kind of animal urges that humans are meant to be too
good for), etc.

> while Terry responds that it is the TOP (*super*class).

Yeah, "top" or "bottom" only conveys the right idea if you
assume the diagram is drawn a particular way up. Which is
why I like the term "base class" -- you just need to be
careful with the grammar!

-- 
Greg



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