Talk:outgunned

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outgunned[edit]

Rfd-redundant: "being in the position of having insufficient guns". Redundant to {{past of|outgun}}. I do not believe this is an adjective, but is used in the passive voice (we were outgunned is passive, not adjectival). Mglovesfun (talk) 17:45, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Yeah. It can be found before a noun ("America's technological superiority over an outgunned enemy") but I don't think that makes it an adjective, does it? Neither does "Store the swap file on a defragmented hard disk" make "defragmented" an adjective. Equinox 22:41, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Sure it does. One disk can be more defragmented or less defragmented then another, and one enemy can be more outgunned or less outgunned then another. bd2412 T 02:39, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Good point, BD. I suppose this is technically an RFV issue ("can citations be found which show adjectival use?"), but I've just added citations showing adjectival use in the phrase "more outgunned", to obviate the need to actually send this to RFV. - -sche (discuss) 06:35, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I give up. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:48, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Don't be proscriptivist. Even if the word shouldn't be used as an adjective, there are a CFI-worthy number of cites showing that it is used that way. You can add a usage note to the effect that this is bad grammar. bd2412 T 18:48, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't know if this is what Mglovesfun would argue, but my sense of objection here is that [[outgunned]] is not an adjective, but rather a verb form. Verb forms are used attributively, sure enough, but I've always been taught that they're still verb forms. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    By that reckoning, would a descriptive use of overrated be an adjective, or a verb form? bd2412 T 19:19, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    From what I got in school, it would be a verb form. From my growing understanding over the years, it seems a more nuanced question, and part of that comes down to how you define your working terms: how, exactly, does one define an "adjective"? Re-reading a couple things in this thread and elsewhere on WT just recently, it's clear that at least some editors (maybe most?) use the presence of comparative forms as an indication of adjective-ness for purposes of POS categorization.
    So maybe I need to turn the question around: what constitutes an adjective for POS purposes? Is attributive use enough? Do we require comparatives? How common must a usage be before we class a term as an adjective in its EN WT entry? Could any verb's -ing form be classed as an adjective? (C.f. google books:"the readingest", google books:"the brewingest", google books:"the dreamingest".) I'm not being contrary here, these are serious questions. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:38, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
More is an adverb, and adverbs can qualify verbs, so more outgunned could just be adverb + verb. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:24, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it comes down to positioning there. You can say that "Bob swam more than Jill", but not that "Bob more swam than Jill" or "Bob was more swam than Jill". However, with outgunned, you can say "Bob outgunned John more than Jill", but you can also say "John was more outgunned by Bob than by Jill". In the latter instance, outgunned is being used in the same way as a pure adverb like heavy, for which you can say "John was more heavy than Bob", but it would be an awkward construction at least to say that "John was heavy more than Bob" (which would imply that John and Bob were both heavy, but that John was heavy more often. bd2412 T 20:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Thinking about this over lunch, it seems like just about any verb that can be used in a passive sense could be used as an adjective as described in this thread: "a more widely read book", "a more commonly eaten apple"; "that book is more read than this one", "that apple is more eaten than this one." I struggle to think of any intransitive verbs used in this same attributive fashion.
To use the Bob and Jill example above, swim here is intransitive, so "more" doesn't fit. (Also, the attributive senses of a verb used in this way come with the past participle, not the simple past, so it would have to be swum -- but that doesn't quite work either.)
Using a transitive verb or a passive verb construction could work: "Bob read more than Jill", "Bob was more read than Jill"; "Bob was hired more than Jill", "Bob was more hired than Jill". Or possibly even using swim in a transitive sense: "Bob swims that lane" → "That lane is swum more" → "That lane is more swum than this one". -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:40, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure that we could find citations for "very outgunned" and "too outgunned" which would be utterly inconsistent with the verb-form interpretation. DCDuring TALK 22:46, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Yep:
  • 2012, Bruce DeSilva, Cliff Walk: A Liam Mulligan Novel, p. 211:
    In the unlikely event of trouble, I'd be too outgunned for it to do me any good; and the .45 didn't need blessing.
  • 2005, Samuel J. Best, Benjamin Radcliff, Polling America: A - O, p. 82:
    While some blacks successfully organized to defend themselves against these incursions against the newly won civil rights, most found themselves too outgunned by the white supremacist organizations to put up much resistance.
  • 1991, John Colling, The spirit of Yenan: a wartime chapter of Sino-American friendship, p. 91:
    Militarily, they could not attack and occupy ground and they were too outgunned to fight pitched battles.
Cheers! bd2412 T 00:07, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
It must be a matter of how one looks at it -- I still see a passive verb. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 01:15, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Clearly by derivation, but outgunned also follows copulas other than be (seem, feel) and occurs attributively. There is hardly a distinguishing feature of adjectivehood that it does not seem to attestably have.
Interesting contrary indications are that:
  1. one could, say, "I seem outgunned by my opponents." Do any adjectives that are not deverbal take a PP headed by by?
  2. there is no adverb ending in -ly formed from outgunned.
But, in any event, that outgunned can be compared already requires that we should show it as an adjective.
The number of deverbal adjectives ending in -ed is large. The more stylistically fastidious among us may seek alternative where they exist, but:
  1. The alternatives don't always exist.
  2. The alternatives can be in the wrong register.
  3. The ship had already sailed before Fowler.
@BD I do not think they require usage notes, except in relatively rare cases, of which this is not one. What could such a usage note say? "Some people have been taught that this is wrong and others that it is stylistically inferior. Consider using synonyms."? DCDuring TALK 15:29, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Re: copulas other than be, couldn't most other transitive past participles be used in a similar way as a sort of passive attributive? "I feel stabbed", "I seem raised up", "I look beheaded". Even intransitives: "I got overexercised". Functionally, past participles can be used as adjectives: "an overexercised imagination", "an underutilized strategy", "a sung poem".
At this point, I'm not arguing against using an adjective POS header for outgunned -- instead, I'm trying to get a handle on the EN WT view for where past participles and adjectives overlap, for purposes of POS categorization. It seems like evidence of use as an adjective alone might not be enough for a term to have an adjective POS here, but then again maybe the label simply hasn't been added yet due to the inherent limitations of time and energy: going the other way, where a verb label is missing, I've found a couple verbs with clearly marked past participles on the lemma page for the verb, but clicking through to the past participle page shows only an adjective header and no verb header (such as underworked, overworked, overwrought). -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 17:00, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring 15:29, 17 May:   Re: "Do any adjectives that are not deverbal take a PP headed by by?": Yes: adjectives formed by adding un- (not) to passive participial adjectives can also take "by": "unsurprised by", "unseen by", "unused by". I think the "by" should be thought of more as indicating the adjective's provenance than as indicating that it's not fully adjectivized: "very surprised by", "very confused by", "very dismayed by", "very disappointed by". —RuakhTALK 19:09, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh -- Um, aren't those all still deverbal? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:51, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
@Eirikr: Well, I didn't think so, because their un- is clearly the un- that attaches to adjectives, not the un- that attaches to verbs. (To see the difference, imagine a verb "to unsurprise (someone)". It would presumably mean something like "to cause (someone) not to feel surprised anymore". Obviously the adjective "unsurprised", meaning "not surprised", is not derived from such a verb.) That said, I suppose one could argue that the un- that forms adjectives from adjectives can also form adjectives directly from past participles (rather than there having to be an unprefixed participial adjective as an intermediate step); and I see now that our entry actually does seem to take that view, in that it says of this un- that it's "added to adjectives or past participles". So I guess they might still be deverbal? But I stand by my other point, which is that deverbal adjectives are still adjectives, no matter how deverbal they might be. —RuakhTALK 21:16, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I would note also that we have an adverb form, unsurprisedly. I am not surprised by this. I further note that Webster's Online Dictionary has a definition for outgunnedly, which it calls an "Adverbial inflection of the verb-based adjective outgunned". bd2412 T 00:31, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Keep. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:05, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh: Thanks.
@Eirikr: You have identified one of the many deficiencies in Wiktionary. It would be nice if a bot could create a list of all of the cases you have characterized so that it was not necessary to check them one at a time. Any volunteers among our dump-processing adepts?
@BD: A web search finds four (4) hits for "outgunnedly", all apparently mirrors of the "Webster's Online Dictionary". DCDuring TALK 01:49, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting that outgunnedly would meet the CFI, but merely that reasonable dictionary writers can recognize it as a grammatically possible form, which suggests that outgunned may properly be used as an adjective. bd2412 T 14:50, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The lack of any usage whatsoever makes me wonder whether your assertion that a reasonable dictionary writer was involved is warranted. Was there even a person involved? And what is this properly? Should one dictionary writer's conclusion contrary to the evidence of the largest corpus ever assembled carry any weight? DCDuring TALK 16:29, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The fact that a construction hasn't been used in the wild doesn't make it an improper construction. We have in the past noted that "podiumward" (as in "the speaker moved podiumward") is gramatically correct and intelligible, but is just not a word that has actually been used. Here, the question is not whether outgunnedly is a word, but whether outgunned can be used as an adjective. The fact that someone thinks "outgunnedly" is a permissible word is as useful for making that determination as a citation saying "In its zeal to put shiny new hardware on display in Europe, the government bought a tank that will be the oldest and most outgunned machine in Europe in a couple of years". Gerald Porter, In retreat: the Canadian Forces in the Trudeau Years (1979), p. 167. bd2412 T 18:06, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Kept as no consensus. — Ungoliant (Falai) 00:39, 14 August 2012 (UTC)