[ExI] Captchas

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Sat Aug 13 03:06:41 UTC 2011

John wrote:

>I agree that its important to know the difference between to, too 
>and two, but in general this grammar Gestapo is full of shit. He 
>gets all hot and bothered over the distinction between "effect" and 
>"affect" but according to the dictionary in my Mac a "effect" is a 
>change that is the result of an action, while "affect" means have a 
>*effect* (yes it actually used that word) on or make a difference 
>to. So I looked at a online dictionary and found that "affect" means 
>to have an influence on or cause a change in, while effect means 
>something brought about by a cause. I'll be damned if I see any 
>reason for having two words that mean exactly the same thing, and 
>its even more puzzling why anybody would get upset for using the wrong one.

affect is also a noun with a very different meaning. And effect is
also a verb with a very different meaning.

As a linguist, I'm a descriptivist. As a writer, I'm open to innovation.
But there's a difference between dialect, ideolect, or coinage
and not knowing what meanings the words already come with.

I *will* judge people (and I'm far from alone) whose non-standard
usage seems based on ignorance. I will probably not hire them.
But then, I'm someone who can't turn a page with a tyspo unless
I carefully correct it (with an acid-free archival pen), even in a
library book.

>Linguist Steven Pinker wrote a amusing editorial about pointless 
>grammatical rules at:

Yes, he's not talking about this. He's talking about the ersatz
nonsense that was invented, that has no historical basis, usually
the result of applying concepts from Latin that have nothing to do
with English. He is not talking about what this captcha is testing.

-- David.

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