DanielWithrow, you are an embarrassement to English speaking people

First, some background for those joining the show already in progress. We began our “tiff” in the Pit with this thread - Who would shoot a dog?
Since we had a difference of opinion on what certain words meant, I started a thread in IMHO called Is it my insulated world or his insulated world?

In the IMHO thread, I asked:

and you wrote:

  1. To that I must say you are the biggest fucking idiot I have seen in a good while. Yes, when parsing sentences, one must take context into consideration. However, fucknut, how can stray dog be taken out of context? As seen in the IMHO thread, even in your “context” stray dog means an ownerless dog to those not in the animal control business. If you want to talk about a dog on the loose, say loose dog.

  2. And why should I assume that the garbage that comes out of your mind is reasonable? Do you think that when you use a phrase like good chance we should think "Hmm, to me (and the rest of the logical, intelligent world) this means a high probability or most likely. But in this sentence, using “high probability” or “most likely” would be unreasonable. The author MUST have meant it as “may” even though NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT FUCKING MIND WOULD EVER USE “GOOD CHANCE” WHEN THEY MEAN “MAY”. But “may” is reasonable, so I should read it as “may”. No, asshat, if you mean X, say X. Don’t say Y and expect us to assume you meant X.

  3. Our debate revolved around 3 items:
    —a) Your comparison of books to dogs - which I still don’t understand.
    —b) Your use of “stray dog” to mean “loose dog” - which from the opinion of posters in the IMHO thread, you are wrong.
    —c) Your use of “good chance” to mean “may” - which from the opinion of posters in the IMHO thread AND BASIC ENGLISH DICTION is 100 per-fucking-cent WRONG
    Your underlying argument stated that there was a good chance a crime was committed. Neither of us was present when the shooting occurred so I could only confront your argument with the facts presented in the OP. From those facts, your argument was wrong SOLELY BASED ON YOUR POOR CHOICE OF WORDS.
    So, DaneilWithrow, you are a pus-brained, shit-spouting idiot.

** Daniel Withrow** is an intelligent poster with a clear, concise writng style. You, OTOH, are a fucknut. That said, I give this thread an 85–it has a good beat and it’s easy to dance to.

W00t! First pitting!

First, your bizarre need to start two additional threads over this matter is incomprehensible to me.

Second, your little IMHO survey once again betrays your inability to understand the importance of context in understanding language.

Third, you insist on (for “stray”) dismissing dictionary definitions and professional definitions, because to admit these definitions would mean admitting you were wrong to get all snarkybutt on me. Frankly, if most people here don’t understand the advantages of the ambiguity behind the word “stray”, then that’s an opportunity for educating them, not proof that you’re correct.

Fourth, I conceded the point about “a good chance”, although I do not think it needs conceding: as one of your own cites shows, in a case in which farm women stand a significantly greater chance of getting cancer than non-farm women, but they do not suffer a greater than 50% chance of getting cancer, it is reasonable to use the phrase “a good chance” to describe their chances of getting cancer. Language is malleable, words mean different things in different contexts, and my meaning in this context was made abundantly clear by everything else I’d said in the thread.

Fifth, when you say that our debate revolved around three items, you’re incorrect. The debate was over whether it was acceptable to shoot a stray (yes, stray – not loose, for reasons I’ll detail below) dog when she comes running up to you. At least, that was the debate until you shrilly hijacked it to demonstrate the need for more reading comprehension classes in our nation’s elementary schools. Amd despite my attempts, I could not get you to shake the hijack free and debate the actual point of the thread.

Finally: “stray” has two relevant definitions. It can either mean “out of its proper place,” or it can mean, “unwanted.” Clearly, in my sentence, I was using the first definition; such a definition refers to owned loose dogs. You want only the second definition to apply, in which case I would have been inexplicably referring to feral dogs.

But the ambiguity is actually very useful. When a dog comes running up to you in the woods, absent a collar or other evidence, you do not know whether the dog is loose (i.e., owned) or feral (i.e., unowned). All you know is that the dog is not properly controlled by an owner. If I and the dictionary and animal control parlance are correct, then the word “stray” may always be properly applied in this circumstance: only later will you learn whether definition 1 or 2 applied. If you’re correct, however, you will not have the language to describe the incident until you learn whether the animal is owned.

If you want to refer to an unowned dog, the word “feral” is perfectly appropriate. You may also, of course, use the word “stray,” but if you do, you should recognize that folks will not know from your word usage whether the dog is owned.


PS In hindsight, I realize that, while you were deliberately misreading me and baiting me in the other pit thread, I probably could have defused the situation by not responding with anger and sarcasm. To the extent that I exacerbated the situation, I apologize.

And on preview, thanks, gobear!

After reading your last post, I think there has been a miscommunication on both our parts. I will try and clear things up.

The “advantage” of the ambiguity of words is, in my opinion, a disadvantage. In your original “stray” post, I don’t believe you clearly stated that “stray” meant “loose”. When (or if) I post/speak in the future, I personally will use “loose” or “feral” unless the sentence is “that dog strayed from his home” or “that stray dog has been living on the streets for year”. As you stated, use of stray is ambiguous.

My debate with you was not about the acceptability of shooting animals. I concede that I might not have been clear but I believe the killing of dogs is wrong unless you feel your safety, or the safety of those around you, is in danger. Given my experience with dogs is minimal, my threat level threshold is probably low - and that I will fiercely defend my daughter’s life to the death, I would tend to lean towards self-defense. My knee-jerk reaction was to my interpretation of your post to the automatic assumption that a crime occurred. And my anger got raised by your anger and sarcasm, and to that, I apologize.

So, truce?

Again, let’s look at the context. I was discussing an appropriate response to being approached by a potentially dangerous stray animal. Generally, when folks are approached by potentially dangerous animals, they don’t know whether the animal is loose or feral, and so they can’t take that into consideration; all they can consider is that the animal isn’t under an owner’s control. That’s why we need the vagueness of the word “stray”: because, as that sentence demonstrated, there are times when we cannot consider the ownership status of an animal when determining our course of action.

Truce, gladly. I will ask that in the future, if my posts are unclear to you, rather than interpret them in the worst possible light, you try to figure out what I was trying to say – and if it’s completely unclear, ask me, rather than mocking me for making an obviously absurd claim.


A truce already? Damn, what is the pit coming to these days??? I didn’t even get a chance to take sides. :wink:

Sorry, auntie.

If it helps, I’ll break the truce just long enough to point out that when you pit someone for their poor use of the language, it behooves you not to misspell a word in the thread’s title. :slight_smile:


. . . but Daniel, isn’t it a law of some sort around here that this should happen? :wink:

Serenity now. Serenity now! :smack:

Don’t ask me. Ask Gudere.

invoking the law in its purest form

It’s spelt ‘behoves’ where I come from but as the origin is probably German, I can hardly engage in schadenfreude at your expense …

In which dictionary? M-W.com says “behove” is a mere British variant of the preferred spelling, “behoove”: maybe it’s the one that lists “spelt” as the past tense of “spell” instead of “spelled.” Where I come from, “spelt” is a variety of grain.

Well, to hand, all I have is a Collins 21st Century Edition … which says (on your point) 'Old English behofian, related to Middle Low German behoven.

The entries for beholden and behoof both claim the same German root, perhaps unsurprisingly.
Also, Collins has, spelt a past tense and past particle of spell

  • I don’t have an OED to hand, sorry. I’m sure, however, one is winging its way in our direction …

I agree, especially since, where I come from, that’s a run-on sentence.

whose first rule of grammar/spelling correction is this: never strike the first blow. The second rule is this: make sure you’re correcting a mistake, not simply listing a variant.

I’m pretty sure the SMDB is the only place on the internet to contain a thread that Strunk and White shake their heads at and exclaim “these people are too anal.”

Heh. On the contrary, Ender – I used to hang out on a board in which people had bitter, vituperative flame wars over whether “John’s” in the sentence “John’s mother is coming to visit” is an adjective or a noun.

Great fun!

(if you’re interested, the argument against “John’s” being an adjective, IIRC, is that in the sentence, “John’s mother’s friend is coming to visit,” “John’s” would magically become an adverb, since it would be modifying an adjective. I don’t remember the rest of that particular angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument.)

(italics mine)

And where does London_Calling come from?

Hint: there’s a clue in the username…:wink:


Intentional or not, that was funny.

Ironically, I am presently reviewing the fines and short form wordings of the charges for a dog-at-large bylaw.

That high? Just trying to figure out what the argument was over was like reading freakin’ Wittgenstein! :smiley: