Talk:Preamble to the United States Constitution

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More perfecter, yet no more gradabler[edit]

Should the ungrammaticality of "more perfect" be discussed in this article? See also Comparison_(grammar)#Absolute_adjectives. --Mudd1 (talk) 00:19, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

This is unimportant and so does not deserve to mentioned in the article. Also, do you have any reliable sources? SMP0328. (talk) 02:00, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
This is passive aggressive and I'd appreciate a change in style. Anyway, you linked to the NPOV page which kinda irritated me. It is a perfectly valid point worth discussing that this might not be relevant enough to be included or that it's better used as an example on Comparison_(grammar). As for sources, I don't see the point in digging for stellar sources as long as the mere relevance of this is debated but here are some links: [1] [2] [3] [4] --Mudd1 (talk) 01:13, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to offend you, please don't take my linking to the NPOV page as a personal attack. I was simply explaining myself. This article is about the substance of the Preamble and its history. How is the grammar of the Preamble related to that? SMP0328. (talk) 01:18, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I have no problem with the suggestion of User:Mudd1 that this article discuss "more perfect" but we would need better sources than those presented. In particular, we would need sources that explicitly make this point regarding the preamble, so dictionaries that do not mention the preamble are not good enough resources, per WP:Synth. More generally, if one day some aspects of the country are perfect, but the next day more aspects are perfect, then it seems correct to say that the country has become more perfect. Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:27, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
That's what I'm talking about. Mudd1 seems to be referring to the rules of grammar, rather than the substance of the Preamble. If he wants a discussion of grammar to be added to this article, there should be link to the Preamble's substance, because that is the subject of this article. SMP0328. (talk) 03:15, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Like I said, I'm not adamant about this issue belonging in this article at all. I just found it curious that "perfect" is one of the most prominent examples of an ungradable adjective while its comparative can be found in one of the most prominent English language texts and neither the article Comparison_(grammar) nor this one even mention the contradiction. Some grammar sites do mention the fact that "perfect" is gradable when used in a less strict, more colloquial sense where it just means "extremely good" but I think it's difficult (or at least remarkable) to argue that the US constitution is an example of colloquial wishy-washy language use.
SMP0328, you're basically making the argument that "more perfect" doesn't actually mean "more than perfect" but "closer to perfect". I would argue that this does indeed correspond to the intuitive understanding many have of "more perfect" but I haven't been able to find many sources supporting this view. Here is one though, including sources that refers explicitly to that phrase in the constitution: [5]. I found it rather poor, though, because it fails to generalize.
So yeah, I'm aware of the fact that Wikipedia is not the right place to come up with original research but the contradiction is already within Wikipedia and should be resolved in one way or another. And I'd prefer a solution that takes a more sophisticated stand than most websites I found that go something like "Oh, it's in the constitution? Well then it must be fine of course ... in this one case. It's an exception because ... reasons ... or poetry ... or something."
The most nuanced discussion of the general topic I could find so far is this one, including more references. The more I think about it, it's probably most appropriate to greatly enhance the Comparison_(grammar)#Absolute_adjectives section which just seems to take a popular but too narrow position, instead of bitching about the founding fathers not being able to write proper English. --Mudd1 (talk) 11:50, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
PS: Fun find, there's this book A More Perfect Constitution. I was hopeful that this was a dig at the line in question but if there's anything about that in the book, it doesn't say so in the article. Still funny.