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4:03 AM
Sigh, the research requirement is such a beginner's trap.
Q: Reply vs answer?

pythonlearnI read somewhere about replying vs answering and cannot exactly remember the key difference when used in different contexts. I just need to know the difference between using these words in different contexts such as emails, phone calls, messaging etc. How is answering to say an email is differen...

I don't particularly like how questions are treated on this website. Dictionaries don't usually do direct word comparisons, and the resources that do are scarcely considered definitive. Heck, this is one of the rare exceptions where a direct comparison is made in a dictionary, yet the answer isn't made very clear by the A.H.D's. comparison of synonyms.
Hotlick's comment even implicitly indicates indicate that his reply is also clearly not an answer, by stating that it is only a reply:
This is a reply. — Hot Licks 1 hour ago
Yet considering the provided context of the question, and the various definitions of the word Dr. Webster gives, esp. given No. 8, it isn't so obviously the case.
And that's only addressing things from the answer side of the dictionary. The reply side isn't much better, since most definitions of the word use the word answer to explain it in some manner or another. The context provided is particularly interesting since the words are used near interchangeably in it.
9 hours later…
1:19 PM
@Tonepoet 1) Yeah, comparisons of close words are not covered well by dictionaries
2) "I... cannot exactly remember the key difference" - that's exactly when we'd expect the asker to do something rather than have us do all the work for them. Close with contempt!
3) Webster's 1828? Come on already, at least join the 20th century. Those definitions never touch on the true difference. MW online 21st century in the first entry says it, an answer is a reply to a question.
@RegDwigнt That escalated quickly; see meta.
I saw that this morning.
I'm not sure why "term" wouldn't work.
@tchrist Is it a problem?
@KitZ.Fox That's actually a technical term for one or more words to label a concept.
@Mitch Well ok, it's better to wrangle it out on meta than in comments.
1:29 PM
and he definitely wants a single word for ... single word.
Which is what the question was edited into, although the last paragraph still asks for a single word for "single word request".
@tchrist +1
Nah, the edited example is a single word for "a single word or phrase".
But the question is all over the place.
That. There were two needs-reseach votes on it already. It was long and meandering, with many comments. It seemed to be going nowhere positive.
1:30 PM
@KitZ.Fox the multiple edits add things in different temporal locations. Also, not coherent
@Mitch Mitch, the first dictionary I referenced was the Am. Heritage 5th ed, which was updated just last year. Don't complain about a problem that doesn't even exist.
Well, to be fair, each piece on its own is relatively coherent. It's the post as a whole that doesn't go together.
@Tonepoet Oh AHD? I didn't see that link.
Its first entry does answer the question directly.
The OP should have done minimal research. If they didn't find anything then we can point them in the right direction
@Mitch Not exactly. "As to a question" only suggests an example of an instance where the word would be used, not a requisite, and for this it is clearly the better definition over Merriam-Webster, unless you've never answered a call in your life.
@Tonepoet No, it's not perfect. Isn't the issue the lack of research?
1:41 PM
@Mitch Yes yes, the lack of research... I'd wish we'd treat questions with the more careful discrimination of determining just what a "commonly available resource" is. Automatic closure when no "perfect" resource exists strikes me as much too hasty.
Not having a perfect answer in a reference is not the point of the close reason. The close reason is to prevent wasting time with frivolous questions. If the OP says 'I vaguely can't remember X' and that's it, then they haven't even tried.
I'm not even convinced lack of research is a good option for closure.
@Mitch That's not actually so clear. The original purpose of gen. ref. closure wasn't "haven't even tried" so much as "lazy answer with no effort to further explain put into it." and while the sitewide standard has been discontinued in 2013, there isn't really too much of an explanation regarding how our closure reason differs from the older one when you consider the qualifying sentence is the second one.
1:57 PM
@M.A.R. Why is that?
Lack of research is a common trait among bad questions, but there's no guarantee an interesting question will demonstrate effort
Q: Basic questions are not so basic

JSBձոգչIt has come up in other threads that we have a lot of "basic" or "lowest common denominator" questions. However, a few myths about this need to be put to rest. First, we do have a general reference close reason, and we do use it. Questions which really are as basic as they seem can be closed, an...

@M.A.R. Good point.
So you end up closing good questions as lacking research because the policy does say so
If you are asking the difference between two words, the least you can do is put definitions of each word in your question.
1:59 PM
But lack of effort is very annoying. 'What is a good word for X?' can certainly be interesting, but the lack of just checking a thesaurus is just irresponsible.
@Mitch I'm not just thinking about interesting questions
What else then?
A difficult grammar question with no effort demonstrated
The syntax questions usually do get a free pass on the research requirement, as do the single word requests (provided that no rough equivalent was suggested for a thesaurus to be checked).
Sure, it might not get closed if a renowned user, like AraucariaMan, asks it
@Tonepoet and there is no definitive guide on this, is there?
2:03 PM
@M.A.R. C.G.E.L. =P
You end up with certain bureaucratic users cough cough Rathony cough cough causing trouble
Technically it is in our list of "Commonly Available Resources" so surely it qualifies!
@Tonepoet No, I mean a definitive guide on what gets a free pass on the research requirement
@M.A.R. I'm not sure anymore. The Gen. Ref. flowchart in Basic Questions Are Not So Basic looks like it was meant to function that way, but Gen. Ref. isn't a closure reason anymore.
@M.A.R. The purpose of SE is to invite expert answers that will be useful to future visitors. There's your definitive guide right there.
2:08 PM
The thing is, a newbie closer comes along a good question with no effort provided, and VTCs anyway, because that's what the policy allows by definition
So unless three people realize it and leave the question open, people are gonna jump on the bandwagon
@MetaEd That's an impractical and vaguely defined sentence
@M.A.R. Which definition is that?
@M.A.R. Well then let's just close SE, shall we :-)
@Tonepoet Usually the close reason itself, and the fluff that appears in the close banner, can be regarded as a definition
I haven't checked ELU's close reasons, but if such a reason exists, which it does on ELL, it's kinda worrisome since it's a slippery slope
@M.A.R. Upon reconsideration, I think the only thing that actually qualifies a question as off-topic is the "commonly-available resource" criterion. There's a "Please include the research" clause, but it doesn't really seem to indicate any actual requirement. Maybe if the word "Please" was removed it would read more like an imperative command...
"Please include the research you've done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic."
@Tonepoet When you click to post a new question, check the guidance on the right sidebar.
2:15 PM
"Provide details. Share your research."
Show research or go to ELL?
@MetaEd That's guidance, not the nth commandment :)
It's all guidance. Just like stop signs are guidance.
@MetaEd To be fair, that's not entirely clear as a demand either. "We prefer questions that can be answered"...
"We prefer if you obey the traffic signs" is a strictly true statement that would never be put on a stop sign. =P
I don't need proof for the fact that there are good questions that drive experts here and do not show research. In real life, research is not a prerequisite, so why should every good question include effort?
There's a counterargument that this "research" which shouldn't lead to an answer or it would've been a self-answer, is wasting reader's time when the question is clear enough
2:19 PM
@M.A.R. Some SE policies exist to help foster expert community. The expectation that askers give details and do some homework before asking is partly out of respect for the experts. It's also, of course, to help prevent confusion about what the question means.
@Tonepoet The first off-topic reason 'Please include research...' is the Gen Ref reason. Gen Ref has never left, jut the label isn't there.
@MetaEd And the problem here is there can be 1-rep experts, so either there should be double standards and people would invoke Godwin's law on meta or everyone would take some flack, good and shitty posters alike
@M.A.R. That vaguely makes sense if the only reason a question can be closed on E.L.L. for lack of research is "answerable by a dictionary", esp. since we can assume that people just learning English would not be adequately helped by the sort of definitive resources designed to aid English users.
@Tonepoet No, in our close reasons, we have context+research as a close reason
I told them a while ago in ELL.meta that we need a policy for obvious homework, but no one listened
People are slowly starting to VTC homework-ish questions as lacking research
It would've naturally happened
SO used to have a "too localized" close reason
It was misused often, and hence removed
@M.A.R. I believe you were telling me that this closure reason wasn't utilized as often as the closure text would suggest.
2:30 PM
Soon enough, someone asked on meta.SO "please give us that VTC back". [status-declined]
But it's standing at six hundred votes.
Sometimes, you just have to downvote things, not VTC them
Not every bad question is closable
@Tonepoet The research part wasn't. We always only closed questions that lacked research with it
However, with increased volume, the site is becoming more moderation-oriented than before
So the research aspect is gaining prominence
@M.A.R. How long ago was this closure reason added anyway?
Was it just always there?
And you start seeing questions that do have enough context, but lack research, get closed anyway
@Tonepoet It was present when I flagged my first question for closure
So maybe after public beta launched
3:21 PM
@Mitch No idea. I don't think that complex.
3:32 PM
@Tonepoet Sometimes "Please" something something sentences look like orders or commands. I mean the tone, but that's just me I guess, feel free to disagree.
@englishstudent That's not an order or command. It's supposed to mean like a request, because it is one
The fact that you're pressurized by polite requests doesn't make them a command :)
3:53 PM
@englishstudent You might not be mistaken in regards to actual meaning, but you're neglecting to consider why the word "please" is inserted into these sentences in the first place. It's what I'd call a passive-aggressive command, for lack of a better way of putting it. =P
@Tonepoet Yes, exactly. I was making a general comment, not related to the site or anything. I mean for example, um, thinks. Like someone says "Please don't talk to me" that's kind of passive aggressive and doesn't sound very nice. On the other hand, they could have just said "I'm busy man" or "I can't talk right now, busy" or something like that. That is straightforward and doesn't sound passive aggressive or jittery or rude or whatever.
@englishstudent Or just "Don't talk to me."
Those sound rude to me.
The whole intent seems to be to make it sound like a request, even if it's really not, because ordering people around seems rude...
4:03 PM
I mean I have noticed such uses of "Please". And in such instances that word does the opposite and makes the whole damn thing, well, kind of impolite and rude.
But like I said, that's me, you can disagree.
Yeah I know. I am not saying that word shouldn't be used.
4:17 PM
@Mitch I missed that comment the other day. I thought a dominatrix's client was not a client but a "slave".
4:28 PM
I wish there was open corpora that didn't have a search limitation. I don't particularly like citing The Contemporary Corpus of American English due to the 10 search limit for unregistered members.
The B.N.C. was decent but they stopped hosting it independently.
Maybe you can wait a little then search again in the Corpus?
It is for a minute or two I guess.
Don't remember exactly.
Or make an account there. The free one.
The limit does seem to reset after a while sometimes, but it's much longer than is reasonable to wait.
And it can be annoying. I agree.
It's more of a measure of months than minutes if I recall correctly, or at least weeks. Also, the only reason to use it is to verify something to somebody else, so unless I can guarantee somebody else will register the account then it's more or less pointless.
I mean I am registered on COCA and I have to wait a little between searches sometimes. I don't know what you mean by "months" or "weeks" here @Tonepoet
I hope we are talking about the same thing here lel.
4:38 PM
@englishstudent Sign out, use up the search limit and wait to see how long it takes to reset. =P
oh okay.
@Tonepoet yeah that bugged me for a while, but then I went ahead and registered and it was no big deal.
@englishstudent you just called them a client.
X is not an X
@Mitch I disagree
X might be X in certain circumstances
@Mitch I meant "client" is a dummy word there, the actual meaning and word would be "slave". But you know, I am just kind of messing with you, right?
Ask some dominatrix then, she could explain.
= )
4:49 PM
A slave is a type of client for a dominatrix.
Not all clients are slaves.
Oh okay. That's settled then. Danke.
I wasn't sure.
Dom hair club for men? "I'm not just a client, I'm also a slave."
@Mitch I got me a quessie for ya.
> Question #A: How many words are in the list: red, blue, green.
Rocket scientists need not apply.
@tchrist Double Jeopardy!
5:03 PM
OK, for A read Q.
I have more where that came from.
You can edit as a mod
I had no idea we'd this many rocket scientists here!
Funny that "this" goes with something plural.
It is an adverb modifying many.
Come on guys. You migrated this to ELL?!
Q: Use of 'of' between two nouns - and its translation into German

user24250What troubles me is the possible misunderstanding of the preposition of between two nouns (defining a part/portion vs. just separating the nouns). Let's say a province of country X is called Bumba. In a report on that province, the English version would be: "In the southern province of Bumb...

Possible answers include:

α. 0
β. 1
γ. 2
δ. 3
ε. 4
ζ. 5
η. 4½
θ. what list?
@M.A.R. There were already four migrate votes on it.
5:12 PM
@tchrist So?
That's as off topic on ELL as on ELU, surely.
It seemed like they were confused by how noun–noun compounds worked in English versus in German.
I thought ELL might be better suited to address that.
What would you have suggested that I close it with in order that the migration would have been blocked?
And in any case, the question is basically about German:
> And what about the translation into German of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland", which should perhaps go without the "von"? In the same way as the "German capital of Berlin" is "die deutsche Hauptstadt Berlin" and of course not the "Hauptstadt von Berlin". And the United States of America? An altogether different affair because they are just part of (the) America(s)?
So, migrate to GLU?
5:16 PM
@tchrist I would just have closed as off topic -> other
And left a comment to the OP explaining that there is such a thing as german.se and maybe they should ask there instead.
Send it back then, sorry.
The German part was always off-topic.
The preceding part seemed like something else.
> Question #A: How many words are in the list: red, blue, green.
Question #B: How many words are in the list: green, green, green.
Question #C: How many words are in the list: read, read, read.
Question #D: How many words are in the list: back scratcher, back-scratcher, backscratcher.
Question #E: How many words are in the list: back scratcher, backs cratcher, backscratcher.
@Mitch ♫ This one's for you, wherever you are.
@tchrist How 'bout 57?
Hmm, do we define words to be lexemes?
Yet another reason that suck.
Is the right answer.
Relevant Lawler comment:
@terdon: No. Words are not defined in terms of their origin for me. For me "words" are not defined at all. I'm a professional linguist and if I'm trying to be precise (as one should in definitions), I wouldn't use the term "word" at all. I'd talk about lexical items, semantics, etymologies, pronunciations, phonosemantics, and probly a few other terms. What I'm trying to say is that "How many words?" questions, or "Are X and Y considered single words?" questions are the wrong question. There's nothing to count. "Word" is a popular term, and does not represent real language. — John Lawler Aug 24 '13 at 16:27
5:40 PM
I bet he still calls things words
@MattE.Эллен Sure. And I frequently refer to heat as if it were a substance.
Or a device.
@MattE.Эллен He did specify if I'm trying to be precise.
6:01 PM
Oh, if only I could press the no polysemy button... >_>
6:11 PM
@tchrist Also, to be fair, lexeme is probably a decent answer to your current subject of complaint, if it's looking for a single word for a semantic item...
6:30 PM
@MattE.Эллен I bet margarine wouldn't melt in his mouth
@terdon well, ok :D
because it is highly saturated, and has a much higher melting point than butter
typical margarine
Screw it, I'm going to finish this bag of "Flamin' Hot" crunchy Cheetos
om nom nom
more om nom nom'ing
@tchrist What? I don't get it. It's not three?
Holy crap, Bacon flamin hot cheetos! That's what they oughta do!
starts writing congressman
wipes orange dust off fingers
goes back to typing
wipes orange dust off keyboard
7:11 PM
@Mitch No, it is three.
The others are less clear.
7:51 PM
Oh how nice! I have the 1987 C.E.O.E.D. volume III now, to supplement the other two and it came with the slipcover, so that makes all but 5,000 words from the O.E.D. 2nd Ed. in print.
A - 3
B - 3 tokens or instances, 1 word or type or concept
C - same (it's typed and no context so I can't hear you pronounce them or what you meant)
D - 5 words/tokens (the hyphen depends), 3 concepts
E - 5 words/tokens, 3 concepts, that middle one might be autocorrected
@Tonepoet I just created a new word so it is now out of date.
@Mitch Convince a pro. Scrabble Player that it's valid and we'll talk. =P
Either that, or add it to Wiktionary. ;-)
Most play with a dictionary (a physical one) as a standard (doesn't matter which one, just an external judge for game play). I prefer no dictionary, and there's the secondary game of convincing others about your (possibly made-up new) word. It's like playing poker at the same time
@Tonepoet haha. wiktionary is crap.
If I find a word in wiktionary, I start to doubt that it really is one.
There are reasons I chose these standards. =)
8:09 PM
@Mitch One is a the color green, one is a putting green, one is member of some green party.
No quarks.
Or one is a noun, one an adjective, and one a verb.
@tchrist Which green is a verb?
The greening of the desert.
The monsoons green the desert with remarkable swiftness.
@tchrist You hadn't mentioned that sense of the word, so I figured you meant that the putting green, the color green or the green party member was a verb.
I was giving two different trifectas.
@tchrist Also, how crude! =P
8:20 PM
> Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar.
Y el caballo en la montaña.
That's crude.
@tchrist Sigh, Portuguese should probably be bumped up the prioritized list of languages I'll never get around to learning =P. It's not just you, but Vampire Princess and also Mythological of the Wesnoth community who speak it too.
@Tonepoet That's not Portuguese.
@tchrist If I wasn't a filthy monolinguist I might've stood a chance of noticing that, but it's all Greek to me.
8:37 PM
@tchrist Or maybe I should've said It's all Green to me. Meh, what a lost opportunity. I suppose I can salvage it though but I don't know whether to reference Kermit or the Orion dancing girl...
2 hours later…
10:34 PM
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Pattern-matching website in answer: What is the difference between "solidus" and "slash"? by AidanTES on english.SE

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