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On "What the best avenue for pointing this out is, however, unclear": I don't this is hypercorrection to avoid the "is is" construction we've been discussing. It looks more like the sort of syntactic haplology that arises in many constructions, e.g. "He's the kind of guy you can go (to) to help you with your problems." One of the interesting things about the "is is" construction is is that it goes counter to the haplological tendency.

-- Rick

My office mate said a few days ago:

"Is all we're doing is putting this in logical form,"

When confronted about this, he said that it sounded like something he would say (ie he didn't perceive it as a performance error)

I myself sometimes find myself saying something like:

"All's we're doing is <infinitive or gerundive phrase>"

I don't have any hypotheses about these constructions, but they do exhibit an extra copula. At least I think so. I'm not sure what the "'s" is in my "all's". Could be possessive or a dialectal variant or a strange plural of some kind. I certainly don't THINK I say, "All is we're doing is ..."

Steve Helmreich (shelmreinmsu.edu)

Alex Monaghan points out that I hypercorrected in the sentence:

What the best avenue for pointing this out is, however, unclear.

And hypercorrect I did. I even remember thinking about this one and choosing, it would seem, wrongly.

Oh well. All I can say is that if there hadn't been all this discussion this never would have happened (hee hee). It's sort of like the observation (?) that discussion of speech errors makes people more prone to make them.

Richard Sproat Linguistics Research Department AT&T Bell Laboratories 600 Mountain Avenue, Room 2d-451 Murray Hill, NJ 07974 tel (908) 582-5296 fax (908) 582-7308 rwsresearch.att.com

In a reply to recent discussion about whether the set of primes known to Manaster-Ramer is well defined, I'd like to note that it is very likely possible to model such sets by the techniques described in my paper: "Cardinalities and well oderings in a commonsense set theory" Proc. First. Intern. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. Edited by Ronald J. Brachman, Hector J. Levesque, and Raymond Reiter. Pub.: Morgan Kaufmann, San Mateo, CA. 1989. pp.486-497

I show there that it is possible to have finite well orderings without cardinalities, and finite sets which cannot be well ordered.

The motivating examples are a set of dots which we do not have time to count (or the set of letters on the line above, about which we know that it is finite, but it doesnt' have cardinality, unless we put some effort and count the letters); and a set of balls in a box, which is finite, but, intuitively, not well ordered.

I don't have time now to try to model the set of M-R's primes, but perhaps some interested reader will try it.