• Zygo (unregistered) in reply to FredSaw
    FredSaw:
    vituperation

    This is the second most interesting word I've looked up in a dictionary today.

    Earlier this afternoon I discovered that the word "towel" can be used as a verb, meaning "to beat with a stick."

    O_o

  • Dot For Now (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi

    I worked with a guy whose girlfriend had almost no understanding of programming. She did, however, know enough to call him 10 times a day for help.

    I suppose it was worth it to him to put up that so she could earn $60,000.

    I knew both of them from college and she'd taken one CS class and done quite poorly.

    Later at another job I met someone who had worked with her and he said she was quite pleasant but got very defensive when asaked any kind of technical question. I suppose because it is bad form to call your boyfriend up in the middle of a discussion with a coworker.

    Lost touch with the happy couple and can't tell you what happened after that.

  • (cs) in reply to Tim
    Tim:
    It's not even a matter of being an alternative. It's the correct form in Britain, to say nothing of being far more logical - people do not say ",", therefore they should not be reported as such! Silly left-pondians...
    People generally don't say full-stop, tend to stutter, and use a lot of ers and ums. Writers and editors are there to distill that into something more readable.

    Commas on the outside do seem more logical, and I've been annoying teachers/TAs since junior high by doing that, long before programming anything. Some conventions are more useful than others.

  • PT (unregistered) in reply to 1337
    1337:
    ... Their our alot of common mistakes ...
    that was a joke write?

    common like "there" "are" and "a lot" ?

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to purge
    purge:
    Mark:
    Why bother learning the programming language when you can just rewrite it to satisfy how you think it should work?

    Seriously, what's wrong with creating wrappers for standard library functions that allow you to reorder the parameters as you see fit? If a function takes n parameters, a series of simple tests (type, length, range) would tell the function which is which. This is how all programming languages should be.

    Pity the poor bastard who has to maintain your gratuitous nonstandard crap. It's not as if there's a reason for swapping the parameters al around.

  • chris (unregistered) in reply to Gamen

    It's not a Loudon Anything reference, it's how you form that friggin sentence. It's called the goddamned subjunctive mood, and you best learn it if you want to speak English.

    Right: "...if she were educated at Oxford." Wrong: "...if she was educated at Oxford."

    Right: "I wish that every kiss were never-ending." Wrong: "I wish that every kiss was never-ending."

  • (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    The whole "comma inside or outside the quotes" thing isn't even a grammar issue. It's a typographic issue. It only comes up when you're printing. Otherwise the correct answer is to write the quote marks above the comma like a normal person.

    Problem is that simple typography can't do that. So American typographers decided that the comma should come before the quote because it looked better.

    But grammatically, it's completely irrelevant: they both come at the end of the phrase, and there is no specific order: they're just there.

    Well, there's written grammar and there's spoken grammar. Indeed, pushing a point, there's even demotic grammar, which rarely makes much sense when written down (unless by a writer with a perfect ear), but differs considerably from "received" spoken grammar.

    Thinking about it, the logical place for a comma is outside the parentheses (and quotation marks are nothing if not parentheses). This is therefore one of those rare cases where computer languages have got it right and natural language/typography has got it wrong. But, we're stuck with convention. The point of convention is that you don't (mentally) stutter when you read something -- just as the compiler won't (umm ... mentally) stutter when it reads something.

    Of course, if you expect an Oxford liberal arts graduate to be any use at computers, then you're dreaming (spires or otherwise). Believe me. I'm one, and we're all idiots.

    xix:
    I bet they hired a pure mathematician later on, and unfortunately thier head exploded at the impossibility of i = i + 1
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.
  • (cs) in reply to purge
    purge:
    Seriously, what's wrong with creating wrappers for standard library functions that allow you to reorder the parameters as you see fit? If a function takes n parameters, a series of simple tests (type, length, range) would tell the function which is which. This is how all programming languages should be.

    I hope there was heavy sarcasm there. What are you going to do with a function with the following prototype, using your logic?

    void someFunction(int a, int b, int c)

    Yeah... Good luck reordering those and getting proper output that means anything...

    Type checks are useless, here, as are range checks, depending on what, exactly, the function does. Length is also useless, since they're all the same type.

    Good job.

  • (cs) in reply to real_aardvark
    real_aardvark:
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.

    They'd easily be able to cope with it because they are logical, thinking individuals. However, even if they were being pedantic, you could point out that i = i + 1 is equivalent to i = add(i,1) and they would likely be happy.

  • guest (unregistered) in reply to Spoe
    Spoe:
    At least we don't stick extra letters and syllables in to perfectly serviceable words like "color" and "aluminum". Just think of the wasted ink and paper! ;)
    You do, and in some cases you make it harder to write while being efficient with letters. If English had a proper spelling, your post would have looked something like this: Et liist wi don't stik ekstra letəz and siləblz in tuu pəfektli səvisbl wərds layk "color" end "aluminum". Jəst ink of the weystd ink end peypr! ;)

    (at least if I can get the pronunciation of words correct, but with the current spelling of English, it's not that simple.)

    But no, such a spelling doesn't seem to work with English. It works better with languages like Italian.

  • guest (unregistered) in reply to guest
    Comment held for moderation.
  • (cs)

    A second comma would have been too creative. Oh well, some people may also not be able to count to two. Never mind.

  • Math PhD (unregistered) in reply to Opie
    Opie:
    real_aardvark:
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.

    They'd easily be able to cope with it because they are logical, thinking individuals. However, even if they were being pedantic, you could point out that i = i + 1 is equivalent to i = add(i,1) and they would likely be happy.

    Why would that make me happy? In case you haven't noticed, mathematicians invented operator overloading.

  • (cs) in reply to guest
    Spoe:
    At least we don't stick extra letters and syllables in to perfectly serviceable words like "color" and "aluminum". Just think of the wasted ink and paper! ;)

    Burglarized vs burgled ...

  • (cs) in reply to 1337
    1337:
    ... Their our alot of common mistakes ...
    that was a joke write?
    off course
  • Atario (unregistered) in reply to Harrow
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Googlewhack! (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • immibis (unregistered)

    "I can't figure out why it won't complile?"

    A spaling error AND an out-of-place question-ma?k in the same sentence? From a grammer expert?

  • Adam (unregistered)

    Rather ironic that the article is littered with grammatical errors.

  • Pete (unregistered)
    Sadly, it would seem that Angie never managed to reconcile all of the differences between English and C++ and was let go less than a year later.

    Wow. Cheap shot from the story poster.

    Under a year sounds about right for any junior programmer. If they're actually good, they'll move on as most companies don't promote. If they're as hopeless as the above snide remark suggests, they'd not have have lasted past the first couple of months.

    To be honest, the way this story's written makes me wonder if it's intended to be a "code" version of the coffee cup holder story. On any other grounds, it's just a typo story with the poster attributing it (the junior's explanation of the typo and why she didn't immediately spot it) to stupidity.

  • aet (unregistered) in reply to Ancient_Hacker
    Ancient_Hacker:
    Oh Lord, this reminds me of when I was writing a User Manual.

    I had the sentence:

    To exit the program, type "Quit", then press the Enter key.

    The editor person sent it back as:

    To exit the program, type "Quit," then press the Enter key.

    I tried to persuade them that these were not quotation marks, but "literal marks", and putting the comma inside would be commanding the user to type Quit comma, which was incorrect.

    I never did manage to convince them of the right way to do this. So every instance of a command example in the manual was correct English, but wrong, in that it did not work.

    I almost changed the program to accept a trailing comma, but that would have been unpalatable (to me).

    This is so much better than the original story :-)

  • Hognoxious (unregistered) in reply to Sean
    Comment held for moderation.
  • (cs) in reply to Ancient_Hacker
    Ancient_Hacker:
    Oh Lord, this reminds me of when I was writing a User Manual.

    I had the sentence:

    To exit the program, type "Quit", then press the Enter key.

    The editor person sent it back as:

    To exit the program, type "Quit," then press the Enter key.

    I tried to persuade them that these were not quotation marks, but "literal marks", and putting the comma inside would be commanding the user to type Quit comma, which was incorrect.

    I never did manage to convince them of the right way to do this. So every instance of a command example in the manual was correct English, but wrong, in that it did not work.

    I almost changed the program to accept a trailing comma, but that would have been unpalatable (to me).

    You should have made it so that on receiving "Quit," it would print a message about how this is an error in the manual, that the ',' should have been outside the quotes and the correct command is "Quit".

    Though be careful, some people will type the command with the quotes intact.

  • NiceWTF (unregistered)

    I have never understood this peculiarity of the english language.

    Quotation marks are used to, well, quote text. The comma itself does clearly not belong to the quoted text itself, but serves to separate it from the surrounding text.

    Thus, to me (as a programmer, obviously..sure) it seems completely illogical to place the comma within the quotes, ever.

    IMHO, it should be considered wrong in English for the same reason that it is wrong in most programming languages.

  • Hognoxious (unregistered) in reply to real_aardvark
    real_aardvark:
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.
    I assume that's supposed to be an arrow. It's lucky you don't want to decrement the variable, because i <= i - 1 is pretty confusing too. How can i be less than or equal to one less than itself?

    They just need to understand that it,s not an equation, it's a command; there's an implied make or let before it.

  • Synonymous Awkward (unregistered) in reply to NiceWTF
    NiceWTF:
    I have never understood this peculiarity of the english language.

    Quotation marks are used to, well, quote text. The comma itself does clearly not belong to the quoted text itself, but serves to separate it from the surrounding text.

    Thus, to me (as a programmer, obviously..sure) it seems completely illogical to place the comma within the quotes, ever.

    IMHO, it should be considered wrong in English for the same reason that it is wrong in most programming languages.

    It is considered wrong in English. Can't speak for American, though.

  • (cs) in reply to Harrow
    Harrow:
    I think you can test for computer programming talent long before going anywhere near LOGO or BASIC or any other formal language. Just look for the kids who are always asking why English syntax and spelling are so wierd^Wweird^Wstupid.

    I don't care what languages he's worked in or what project experience he's had; send me the candidate who's comfortable punctuating the English sentence

    I said 'Did he ask "Are you going?" or "Aren't you going?"?'.
    and I'll teach him what he needs to know about #@%*ing ASP. Plus I occasionally wish English had something like lisp parentheses.

    -Harrow.

    I think I've written several of these kinds of sentences, and thought they were actually pretty cool (allowed by logical grammar, which nobody realises). The most frequent (which I will write without thinking about it) is:
    The system will reply with "You need foobar-6 to run this.".
    This is the only real resolution to the problem of having punctuation as the last character in the string, and the string immediately preceding it.
  • rumpelstiltskin (unregistered) in reply to Opie
    Opie:
    real_aardvark:
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.

    They'd easily be able to cope with it because they are logical, thinking individuals. However, even if they were being pedantic, you could point out that i = i + 1 is equivalent to i = add(i,1) and they would likely be happy.

    Why would that make him happy? The problem isn't the "+" operator; the problem is the relationship implied by "=". Give the mathematician a pure functional language to work with. That will make him happy.

  • Hognoxious (unregistered) in reply to real_aardvark
    real_aardvark:
    Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it.
    I assume that's supposed to be an arrow. It's lucky you don't want to decrement the variable, because i <= i - 1 is pretty confusing too. How can i be less than or equal to one less than itself?

    They just need to understand that it's not an equation, it's a command; there's an implied make or let before it.

  • (cs) in reply to PT
    PT:
    1337:
    ... Their our alot of common mistakes ...
    that was a joke write?

    common like "there" "are" and "a lot" ?

    The poor English language

  • (cs) in reply to immibis
    immibis:
    "I can't figure out why it won't complile?"

    A spaling error AND an out-of-place question-ma?k in the same sentence? From a grammer expert?

    An old favorite puzzle:

    There is three errers in this sentence.

    Find them

  • (cs)

    Both Adam and Angie deserve a WTF award... maybe Angie intended for the comma to be part of the output... Adam should have just advised that Angie add another comma after the quotes!!!

    Klassick!!!

  • (cs) in reply to Harrow
    Harrow:
    I think you can test for computer programming talent long before going anywhere near LOGO or BASIC or any other formal language. Just look for the kids who are always asking why English syntax and spelling are so wierd^Wweird^Wstupid.

    I don't care what languages he's worked in or what project experience he's had; send me the candidate who's comfortable punctuating the English sentence

    I said 'Did he ask "Are you going?" or "Aren't you going?"?'.
    and I'll teach him what he needs to know about #@%*ing ASP.

    -Harrow.

    echo ("I said, Did he ask "Are you going?" or "Aren't you going?"?");

  • Sgt. Preston (unregistered) in reply to Pap
    Pap:
    She wouldn't had have this problem if only she was educated at Oxford.
    Perhaps you meant, "She wouldn't have had this problem if only she had been educated at Oxford."
  • (cs) in reply to Spoe
    Spoe:
    A comma outside the quote is perfectly acceptable English syntax. It just depends on the style book you're using. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, lists this as a perfectly acceptable alternate syntax for quotations. There's a couple of others containing similar rules.

    There are a couple of others containing ....

  • Dan Krüsi (unregistered) in reply to Ancient_Hacker

    Ha Ha that is hilarious!

    I would have added support for a trailing comma though. A lot of times us poor (but highly superior -of course) programmers have to conform to stupid ideas.

    -Dan Krüsi

  • (cs) in reply to Googlewhack!
    Googlewhack!:
    Angie's real name is unpublished, but she graduated from CMU.

    http://www.flounder.com/bricks.htm

    Thanks, I knew I'd seen this exact story somewhere before but I couldn't remember where!

  • PleegWat (unregistered)

    I think the use of assignment and functions by mathematicians predates programming. But what do I know, I'm just a math graduate...

  • different anon (unregistered) in reply to Synonymous Awkward
    Synonymous Awkward:
    NiceWTF:
    I have never understood this peculiarity of the english language.

    Quotation marks are used to, well, quote text. The comma itself does clearly not belong to the quoted text itself, but serves to separate it from the surrounding text.

    Thus, to me (as a programmer, obviously..sure) it seems completely illogical to place the comma within the quotes, ever.

    IMHO, it should be considered wrong in English for the same reason that it is wrong in most programming languages.

    It is considered wrong in English. Can't speak for American, though.

    It's British or American English. Sorry, but it's still one language.

    The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.) gives the following:

    Periods and commas. Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single. This is a traditional style, in use well before the first edition of this manual (1906)...In the kind of textual studies where retaining the original placement of a comma in relation to closing quotation marks is essential to the author's argument and scholarly integrity, the alternative system described in 6.10 could be used, or rephrasing might avoid the problem. In computer-related writing, in which a file name or other character string enclosed in quotation marks might be rendered inaccurate or ambiguous by the addition of punctuation within the quotation marks, the alternative system may be used, or the character string may be set in another font, without quotation marks...For related matters in computer writing, see Eric S. Raymond, "Hacker Writing Style," in The New Hacker's Dictionary.
    Colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation points. Unlike periods and commas, these all follow closing quotation marks unless a question mark or an exclamation point belongs within the quoted matter.
    Alternative system. According to what is sometimes called the British style...a style also followed in other English-speaking countries, only those punctuation points that appeared in the original material should be included within the quotation marks; all others follow the closing quotation marks.
    All typos are my own.
  • Tonio (unregistered) in reply to ParkinT
    ParkinT:
    immibis:
    "I can't figure out why it won't complile?"

    A spaling error AND an out-of-place question-ma?k in the same sentence? From a grammer expert?

    An old favorite puzzle:

    There is three errers in this sentence.

    Find them

    1. grammatical: should be "There ARE..."
    2. spelling: should be "errors"
    3. factual: there are only two errors.

    Of course, that just turns it into a paradox... the existence of the third error makes that third error not exist. =)

  • (cs) in reply to ParkinT
    ParkinT:
    An old favorite puzzle: There is three errers in this sentence. Find them
    is/are, errers/errors, three/no.

    Simple.

  • Kraken (unregistered) in reply to rumpelstiltskin
    rumpelstiltskin:
    Why would that make him happy? The problem isn't the "+" operator; the problem is the relationship implied by "=". Give the mathematician a pure functional language to work with. That will make him happy.

    Or, if he must work in a programming environment with state, something like i := i + 1 would work too to indicate assignment, and i = 1 to indicate equality.

    I think that's the only useful thing that I've seen from any Pascal-like languages.

  • Dana (unregistered) in reply to Mark
    Comment held for moderation.
  • (cs)

    Someone said that putting the commas inside the quotes (in English) looks funny. I think it looks funny too, but apparently, typographers of old thought it looked better.

    I helped proofread a couple of my parents' books, and when I came across instances where the comma was outside of the quotes, I wanted to leave them alone, and Mom & Dad said that was OK with them (but they thought the publisher's proofreader would probably catch it).

    I think commas outside of quotes looks more balanced and logical. The most common rule, however, is for the comma to go inside the quotes. It's not logical, but many rules aren't.

  • Anonymous Pedant (unregistered) in reply to chris
    chris:
    It's not a Loudon Anything reference, it's how you form that friggin sentence. It's called the goddamned subjunctive mood, and you best learn it if you want to speak English.

    Right: "...if she were educated at Oxford." Wrong: "...if she was educated at Oxford."

    That depends on what you're trying to say.

    Right: "If she was educated at Oxford, I'm a monkey's uncle." Wrong: "If she were educated at Oxford, I'm a monkey's uncle."

    For extra points, remember to use the subjunctive in "that" clauses indicating wishes:

    Right: "It is desired that the software implement this functionality." Wrong: "It is desired that the software implements this functionality.

    I had to correct my advisor on this one in my Master's thesis.

  • (cs)

    "Not very likely. Most pure mathematicians past the age of, oh, around nine and a half can cope with discrete symbolic systems. They might bitch at the fact that this is not expressed as i <= i + 1, but they'll deal with it."

    If i represents infinity, then indeed i = i + 1. For either countably infinite or uncountably infinite.

  • Tom (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    The REAL WTF(TM) is how did this person manage to get a job as a programmer to begin with? Even a neophyte should understand that programming syntax is not the same as English syntax.

    It was all a misunderstanding. She's actually "pro-grammar".

  • (cs)

    AAArgh. Banner ad on this page about who should carry the Olympic torch:

    "Support your country's finalist!"

    Why? What if I think some other country's finalist is more deserving? Why push isolationism and narrow-mindedness?

  • bambuti (unregistered) in reply to DaveK
    DaveK:
    Spoe:
    A comma outside the quote is perfectly acceptable English syntax. It just depends on the style book you're using. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, lists this as a perfectly acceptable alternate syntax for quotations. There's a couple of others containing similar rules.

    There are a couple of others containing ....

    Nice try. Had it been

    "There's two others containing..."

    then you would be unarguably right. But "a couple of others" can function either as a plural noun (two others), or a singular noun (one couple (of others))...

  • Anne (unregistered)

    Can I just say that all of the intentional grammar mistakes in the description and comments REALLY hurt my brain?

    That being said, I can still write syntactically correct C code. (Although sometimes if I've been writing a lot of Perl, I accidentally slip some perl into my C ("you got your Perl into my C! You got your C into my Perl! Hey...").) Maybe I started programming early enough so that my brain could handle the different syntaxes -- sort of like how kids who grow up bilingual are able to learn other languages much more easily.

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