Hi! This is me. ;-)
Whenever I see something that needs fixing, I'll try to do it. For example, I'm keen to make explanations as clear as can be. Looking up a dictionary should be enlightening (and fun!), but so often it only confuses us more. A good dictionary helps us to enjoy the gift of language.
In particular, I make it a practice to replace unnecessary slashes "/" in text with the appropriate spoken English equivalent, which is usually "or".
And the least said about the abomination "and/or", the better! Oh, all right, if you insist ... I'll explain why it's abominable:
- It should be read out as "and or or", so would be better written thus.
- Any English sentence that contains "(clause-A) and or or (clause-B)" is logically equivalent to one that contains '"(clause-A) and (clause-B)" or "(clause-A) or (clause-B)"'.
- Since, in English, the word "or" denotes a logically inclusive "or", we can simply say "A or B" to mean "A or B or both (A and B)".
- In fact, a logically exclusive "or" requires extra words in English, thus: "A or B, but not both (A and B)".
- So the meaning of the "and/or" is nothing more than: "or"!
- Isn't that abominable?
So whenever I find "and/or", I'll replace it with "or". Simple!
Also, I'm an unapologetic spelling nazi, and detest seeing, say, "seperate" when the intended word is "separate".
Of course, when somebody proposes a practical way to simplify English spelling, giving due weight to the interests of all stake-holders, I'll be first to support it. Consider, for example, the proposed reform known as "Cut Speling" - see Wikipedia. It's not a bad start, but is it fair to all?
By the way, if you ever think you've found a spelling error in my work, feel free to correct it. What you will be dealing with is, of course, not a spelling error, but a simple typo! ;-)
My reference use
I come to the English Wiktionary whenever I need some support for my changes to the English Wikipedia, particularly when trying to disambiguate various pseudo-classical usages.
For example, right now, I'm trying to suss out the nuances that differentiate:
- as used in medical terminology, from:
- as used in, for example, the theory of Special Relativity in physics. Both can mean the act of dilating, or expansion. Yet Wiktionary says that "dilation" can also mean:
whilst "dilatation" can also mean:
- "A dilation or enlargement of a canal or other organ".
Mind you, I don't know where it gets its evidence for these. But I'm getting to that.
Trusting your guide
When you're lost or confused, a guide can be very helpful. But only if feel you can trust your guide.
For example, regarding the various meanings of the two words "dilatation" and "dilation" mentioned above, how do I know that these meanings are correct? What is the source of the authority of these entries on Wiktionary? Why should we trust them?
Trying to answer such a question, I just now looked up Wiktionary's Help for "reference", and am none the wiser. Does Wiktionary not require editors to cite an authority, such as an established dictionary, or offer a quotation where the meaning is manifest from context? What sources are better? Is every Wiktionary editor free to make words mean what he will, exactly like Humpty Dumpty?
So if you stop by, please shine a little light - I'm feeling lost!
yoyo 13:39, 23 February 2012 (UTC)