What is wrong with this sentence.

'Keep moving please. If everyone was to stand there, how would the rest of the people manage to get past?'

closed as off-topic by Bradd Szonye, phenry, FumbleFingers, choster, aedia λ Feb 24 '14 at 21:15

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  • 2
    Some might say that the subjunctive 'were' rather than 'was' is required, but the sentence is logically (as opposed to grammatically) flawed. Taking 'everyone' in its strict rather than its loose (lots of people) sense, there is no 'rest of the people'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '14 at 19:40
  • @EdwinAshworth So it's sort of a riddle or something? – Parto Feb 23 '14 at 19:42
  • 1
    My guess would be that to ask people to 'keep moving' implies they already are moving, yet the next sentence assumes they are standing still. – Leon Conrad Feb 23 '14 at 19:43
  • We spent about two minutes on 'nonsense sentences' in junior school. I suppose this was intended to show us that even if you get all the vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation right, you can still come up with something untrue, in poor style, or just nonsensical. This was one of the examples of a nonsense statement (there were worse!) Lewis Carroll was brillig at this stuff (his examples are worth reading), and 'This statement is false' is a classic mind-bender beloved of philosophers. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '14 at 19:50
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    Isn't the use of "everyone" just a form of hyperbole? Sentences like this are not intended to be taken literally, any more than a warning that "you'll poke your eye out" is. – Barmar Feb 24 '14 at 20:44

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