Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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-2
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2answers
620 views

What is a semantic script?

Recently, there was a question about 'semantic roles', and someone explained them to me here. It was great. So, I was hoping someone may also know what "semantic scripts" are. I've tried searching ...
7
votes
2answers
218 views

Is there any semantic difference between “absolutely no x, except y” and “except y, absolutely no x”?

Bit of a quibble on a discussion elsewhere. I made the following statement: They had absolutely no debt, except for their mortgage. Someone (with whom I disagree vehemently) has accused this of ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Does “establish” imply a chronological ordering?

The context is actually mathematics, and providing a proof for a particular fact. If one says "... which was established by Smith." does this have the connotation that Smith was the first to do it? ...
0
votes
2answers
422 views

What are the semantic roles of the nouns following the adjective 'suspicious' in this sentence?

'A suspicious policeman looked at a suspicious man.' Can anybody define the semantic roles of the nouns which follow the adjective 'suspicious' in the above sentence?
0
votes
1answer
1k views

“No need to hurry yet…”

This question is from a diagnostic test of one ESL school in Bangkok. Ann wonders how much time she has to work on her assigned project. Her teacher says, “No need to hurry yet ________” a) ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

“Whether they are congruent”

A geometry test asks a student to find the length of two pairs of line segments and then instructs the student to tell whether they are congruent for each pair. Is the student obligated to tell ...
0
votes
2answers
415 views

All X are Y. Then Some Y is X? [closed]

I have the following statement: All the actors are girls. All the girls are beautiful. The conclusions are given below: Conclusions: 1)All the actors are beautiful. 2)Some girls are actors. My ...
0
votes
2answers
290 views

English comprehension task

The following is an English comprehension task, and we can't agree upon the correct answer. According to the textbook, answer B is correct. However, in my opinion, it is clearly lacking the word not. ...
1
vote
0answers
225 views

Semantics of “This is for good” [closed]

What is the meaning of "This is for good"? Does it mean this is final, this is so for a good reason or maybe this is good like it is? I couldn't find a good reference for it.
1
vote
1answer
664 views

Differences between Case Frames and Semantic role labeling

I'm learning about some basic linguistics theory and have come across case frame analysis and semantic role labeling as methods of determining agents within sentences, and arguments for verbs. ...
11
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3answers
1k views

“Bring 6 eggs. If there are potatoes, bring 9.”

This is with reference to this comic, called A Programmer's Life (translated from Portuguese): Programmer: My wife asked me to go to the market and said: “Bring six eggs. If there are potatoes, ...
1
vote
2answers
321 views

Improper usage of “subsequently” in the latest Futurama episode?

In the latest Futurama episode, called Cold Warriors, the professor says the following: The common cold died out 500 years ago and subsequently humanity lost all resistance to its ravages. ...
0
votes
1answer
422 views

Does the phrase “will ever be” include the past?

A colleague of mine told me that "Right now you are the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be." I don't believe this is the case. In my mind, the idea that he is trying to ...
5
votes
4answers
383 views

What's the proper interpretation of: “I was kissed by a girl twice”?

The other day I experienced two distinct but similar events. I wanted to convey this to a friend and this is what came to mind: "I was kissed by a girl twice." My question is, does this sentence say, ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between “subsequently” and “consequently”?

When studying and reading course material in "softer" sciences that are descriptive the word "subsequently" appears in a way like "and subsequently" ...what does it mean, disctinct from "consequently" ...
2
votes
2answers
289 views

Etymology and meaning of “discretionary” [closed]

I found this sentence on a page about MyPyramid: There is one other category: Discretionary calories, represented by the narrow tip of each colored band, including items such as candy, ...
2
votes
4answers
19k views

What is the difference between syntax and semantics? [closed]

As a computer scientist and a writing hobbyist, I really ought to know these terms' meanings for memory. Can anyone clarify the difference between syntax and semantics, and provide some examples? For ...
0
votes
4answers
531 views

What does “The power to be strong” mean, and is it valid English?

I was reading Microsoft Encarta and in a part of it, Nietzsche’s ideology was put forward as: "For Nietzsche the power to be strong was the greatest value in life" Isn't "the power to be strong" ...
0
votes
1answer
916 views

Is there a difference between “select of your own choosing [something]” and “select [something] of your own choosing”?

What is the semantic difference between "select of your own choosing a partner" and "select a partner of your own choosing"? Slightly awkward grammar aside, the first seems to suggest that the choice ...
1
vote
3answers
599 views

“Write out a prescription” vs. “make out a prescription”

Are "write out a prescription" and "make out a prescription" used more or less interchangeably?
4
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “run someone out of town”?

I know it's hard to understand a sentence without context, but what situation comes naturally to your mind when you hear the following sentence? She ran the mayor out of town.
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Do we compile the source or the binaries?

When programming, we usually write text files in some programming language. These source files are fed into a compiler that compiles them into binary files. My question is whether to say: we ...
1
vote
2answers
225 views

Relationship words for a 'Semantic Network' and also a Sentence Dilemma

The two sentences below are for a user input form for a semantic network. It is a standard, HTML-based form with two drop down menus (the square brackets represent the drop-down menus). Users use the ...
4
votes
2answers
252 views

“If the bowl had been stronger, my song had been longer.”

In the original version of the nursery rhyme, The Wise Men of Gotham, the word 'had' is used in the main clause of a sentence where it seems modern English would commonly use 'would have'. The full ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

Instantaneous interpretation of disjoined events over a duration

What is the correct interpretation of a sentence with two events occurring during some time span joined by "or"? It seems that the scope of "or" doesn't change in either case. For example: Today ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

Does “criticism” imply positive as well as negative?

I thought I was always taught at school that criticism meant evaluation and opinion, either positive or negative. These days, it seems criticism, or to criticise, is almost exclusively used to mean ...
3
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6answers
13k views

Syntactically correct, semantically incorrect sentence

How would I answer the following programming exercise? It's trying to emphasize the difference between semantics and syntax. Write an English sentence that has correct syntax but has semantic ...
4
votes
1answer
627 views

What does this mean: “Credit card balance within $2000 of card limit”?

I'm trying to create an alert on my credit card so that I get a text message when the total charges on my credit card go over $1000. Let's say my credit card limit is $3000. If I set the alert to ...
1
vote
3answers
174 views

Depression and happiness

Are "depression" and "happiness" antonyms? Are they mutually exclusive? Does the absence of one imply the presence of the other? (I am trying to ascertain the semantic validity of using ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Use of “Might” and “Might not”

I know "Might" and "Might not" means the lack of certainty, but is there an implied probability in the use of these terms? In other words, does "I might be coming" imply that "It is extremely likely ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

One who objectifies women

Is there a single word or short phrase to describe someone who treats women like objects? Is there a similar word/phrase for who objectifies other people in general?
8
votes
2answers
163 views

A question of interpretation: single word parenthesis

To my mind this: Entity foo varies seemingly at random. is semantically equivalent to this: Entity foo varies, seemingly, at random. However, is this necessarily the case? What ...
2
votes
7answers
146 views

Can something be “exactly” and “probably”?

I was watching a breakfast show the other day and a reporter was at a museum where they had an exhibition that the lady said was: Exactly like what the scientists think the surface of Mars is ...
0
votes
1answer
7k views

“Query” vs. “Inquiry”

What is the difference between the words "inquiry" and "query?" I tend to associate the latter with technology (e.g., search engine queries), but I'm not sure what the actual meaning is.
4
votes
3answers
190 views

Does a nominative sentence suggest that a characteristic is more of a permanent feature?

Scenario: Someone steals a pen and is asked: 'Did you steal the pen?' They reply: 'No' It is said to them: 'You are a liar.' Does this nominative sentence not suggest that they are a liar as a ...
18
votes
4answers
20k views

“Liberty” versus “freedom”

What is the difference, if any, between liberty and freedom? Does it convey the same meaning if "Status of liberty" is replaced with "status of freedom" ? or every occurrence of "liberty" in ...
3
votes
3answers
115 views

“Mysterious” vs. “Perplexing”

Is there a difference between 'mysterious' and 'perplexing' when used with regard to some unexplained phenomena?
3
votes
5answers
475 views

What can't you describe without a picture?

What do you call objects, or kinds of objects, that cannot be described without visual aids?
9
votes
5answers
7k views

“Satire” versus “sarcasm”

I looked up the two words on wikitionary & got this: satire: A literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject often as an intended means of provoking or ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Quote” vs “estimate” (business context)

I'm interested in the semantic implications of using the words quote and estimate in a business scenario. Here's the situation: When someone wants to purchase a service that I provide, they can fill ...
3
votes
5answers
307 views

Is it safe to equate 'less evil' to 'more good'?

We had a bit of a debate with this one. He, a native speaker (unlike me) went for: "less evil" implies that you are comparing evil people and "more good" implies that you are comparing good people ...
31
votes
6answers
2k views

Does apologizing entail recognizing being at fault?

Consider this example: I'm sorry if you got the impression that I meant to insult you. That was not my intention. Would it be correct to say that the above person apologized? All the ...
13
votes
5answers
629 views

Can one “marry one's wife”?

I was vacantly reading the paper the other day when I came across a strange formation in the obituary: "he married his wife in 19XX". I was rather taken aback by this; surely he can't marry his own ...
8
votes
4answers
23k views

Is a thumb also a finger?

The thumb has a different name compared to the other fingers (index, middle, ring, little) and it does not end with "finger". Also, when referring to the hand, I have seen literature where it is ...
12
votes
3answers
995 views

How are pronouns resolved?

Are pronouns in English resolved syntactically or semantically? Do they always refer to the closest matching noun? A wikipedia article has these examples: We gave the bananas to the monkeys ...
7
votes
5answers
27k views

Is “including but not limited to” a redundant phrase?

Doesn't "including" imply the "not limited to"?
7
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5answers
1k views

What is the semantic difference between “encipher” and “encrypt”?

What is the semantic difference between encipher and encrypt?