Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2010 April 2

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April 2[edit]

'All female band' or 'All-female band'[edit]

Should the phrase "all female" in "all female band" be hyphenated? Hyphen#Compound modifiers and Compound modifier#Hyphenation of elements suggest that it should be, but the main article was moved in 2008 from All-female band to All female band, with the reason: "non needed hyphen, bad grammar". -- Black Falcon (talk) 06:14, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Non-needed move, bad grammarian. --Kjoonlee 07:18, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
It really depends on what sort of grammar you're talking about - prescriptive or descriptive. Prescriptively, words like all-female, semi-sweet, French-born, multi-coloured (and, indeed, "non-needed", because there is no such word as "non") et al must be hyphenated:
  • "Gaston Leclerc is a French born Peruvian astrologer" tries to mean that he is French, and he was born, and he is Peruvian. But it can't mean that: that he was born hardly needs stating, and he is no longer French. So it's obvious that French and born cannot be interpreted as independent facts about him; they are connected to each other to make a quite different and indeed contradictory fact (viz. he was born in France but doesn't live there any more and is no longer French), and must therefore be hyphenated.
That's prescriptive. But descriptive grammar will back up that bad grammarian because the hyphen is often dispensed with these days, unfortunately. Reasons include ease of reading, modernity of style, and avoidance of fussiness or "pedantry". (They then shit in their own nests by inserting hyphens where they're actually not required, such as in "the then-president". What a laugh!) -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 08:29, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Without the hyphen, I can imagine it to mean "a band comprised of all females (in the world)". Paul Davidson (talk) 12:25, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, your responses were most helpful. I reversed the move carried out in 2008 and added an explanation to the article's talk page. -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:08, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I wonder why modern writers hate hyphens? When I first glanced at the phrase "all female band", I assumed, just for a split-second, that the "s" had been missed off "bands". For ease of reading, some hyphens are essential. Dbfirs 18:58, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, in the case of compound nouns, it seems to be acceptable to drop the hyphen once the concept gains sufficient common currency to be understood without clarification. This article at World Wide Words talks about teen-ager (early '40s) shifting to teenager in the '50s, and lip-stick (1880) becoming lipstick in the '20s. A disdain for hyphens seems logical based on this. Also words like to-day, to-night, and to-morrow look old-fashioned, especially to American readers. This article, (from 1997) advises avoiding the hyphen when possible, but to "above all, strive for clarity," and follow established usage (using more modern/less conservative dictionaries to do so). It suggests more liberal use of the hyphen in compound modifiers, however, since these are more likely to be unclear without one. Some jerk on the Internet (talk) 17:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Bad Friday[edit]

Why is Good Friday called "good"? Surely it was a bad friday for Jesus and his supporters. (talk) 13:55, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

See the third paragraph here. Deor (talk) 14:46, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
A slightly different take here[1]. Alansplodge (talk) 17:10, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

"Another" and "other" in legal provisions[edit]

I have seen the following provisions of the "Japanese Code of Civil Procedure" (JCCP):

"Where it is found to be difficult for a party to appear due to living in a remote place or any other grounds, if the party has submitted a document stating that he/she accepts the proposed terms of settlement presented in advance by the court or an authorised judge or commissioned judge, and the other party has appeared on the appearance date and accepted such proposed terms of settlement, it shall be deemed that both parties have reached a settlement."

I wonder why the word "other" is used, while it should be "another". Because:

  1. In facts, there are always two parties in an action.
  2. Both are in the same action for sure.
  3. The determiner "another" means "one more, in addition to a former number; a second or additional one, similar in likeness or in effect."

So, when we have mentioned to any party first, the rest should be mentioned by "another," isn't it? Please see a similar case in the following provisions of the "Civil Procedure Code of Thailand (CPCT)" where the word "another" is used:

"A party may adduce another party as his witness."

Please tell me if I am misunderstanding in using English determiners "another" and "other". Thank you for directing me to the light,, ^^ (talk) 18:59, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know the rules for legal language, but in everyday English the word "another" is usually used when the second party has not previously been mentioned or implied, whereas "the other" is used when the second party has been mentioned or implied. The difference between "another" and "the other" is similar to the difference between the articles "a" and "the", if that helps. —Bkell (talk) 19:45, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd say that the use of "the" is correct in the Japanese document precisely because there are only two parties to a legal dispute. There is one party and then the other party. This calls for the definite pronoun, because there is only one other party. As for the Thai document, "another" is correct, because we don't know which party that might be. Therefore we need the indefinite pronoun. Marco polo (talk) 23:05, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I've seen plenty of suits with many more than two parties. Typically they are incrementally simplified by separate settlements of some plaintiffs with some defendants. For simplicity let's consider Haight and Page v. Stanyan and Ashbury. If Haight proposes a settlement with Stanyan, the agreement of another party, which could be anyone, is irrelevant; what counts is agreement of the other party (to the settlement), namely Stanyan. —Tamfang (talk) 03:18, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
The Thai example, as you can perhaps see, is not parallel. It is equivalent to saying "Parties to a case are not excluded from acting as witnesses for other parties." A defendant is unlikely to call a plaintiff as witness, or vice versa, so the provision is relevant only mostly in complex cases – that is, where there are more than two parties, and thus "the other party" is not well defined. —Tamfang (talk) 03:23, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm reminded of the practice, now dwindling, in bicameral Westminster parliaments, where members of one house refer to the other house obliquely as "the other place" or sometime even merely "another place", as if it were no more relevant to them and their proceedings than their local milkbar or a supermarket parking lot. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 19:55, 7 April 2010 (UTC)