Search the Lounge


« Blackboard versus TWEN | Main | Voting rights and discrimination in Texas legislative districts »

August 29, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

rolex watches uk

Efficient are abyssal ranges of Rolex counterpart watches because sports. Some watches and hold money drift that are effortlessly royal. They rise shield timers, calculators or calm their essential mechanisms to solve based on the case girth.


This is what I, and my colleagues, refer to as the subject of the Doctrine of Syntactic Ambiguity.

It does help lighten up the day sometimes.

Eric Engle

Certain in English usually conveys the sense of definite. However, it sometimes instead conveys the sense of particular: "Seen in a certain light, nuclear war would be exciting." for example. However, here, the sense is clearly intended as definite. A definite possibility is not itself illogical but that sentence "definitely could" is simply illogical. It probably stems from the author's lack of time, desire to hedge, and possibly also unawareness of the different senses of the word "certain". Probably indicates likelier than not; possibly indicates less than likely. It is important to be exact.


Reminds me of this quote from Yes Prime Minister, a British sitcom set in the Cold War:

Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
PM Hacker: I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
Sir Humphrey: It's a deterrent.
PM Hacker: It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.
PM Hacker: They probably do.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know.
PM Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they can't certainly know that although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would!

Eric Engle


The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad