User talk:Makearney

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Transitive/intransitive verb headers[edit]

See Category:Entries with transitive verb header Robert Ullmann 06:08, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Please do not remove {{transitive}} from entries. It's the way that we mark transitive verbs. --EncycloPetey 22:02, 29 May 2007 (UTC) Also, If you change ===Transitive verb=== to ===Verb=== (which is a good thing to do), please be sure to add {{transitive}} in front of each definition. Otherwise, you are simply removing grammatical information rather then fixing the format. --EncycloPetey 22:06, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. This directly addresses an ambiguity that would be useful to clear up. I only removed {{context|transitive|lang=und}} from definitions of verbs that I had actually added {{context|transitive|lang=und}} to in the first place as a result of removing "Transitive" from the header.
First issue: should I be adding {{context|transitive|lang=und}} or {{transitive}}? Would the same apply for intransitive? Should I be inserting {{intransitive}}? Which is to say what is the significance of the "temp" part? Read this in editmode to get the real sense of this question. It's a newbie question.
Further I agree with you, I prefer having {{transitive}} or {{intransitive}} at the beginning of each definition. However, as you can see Robert Ullmann aimed me at Category:Entries with transitive verb header, which says, "in almost all cases where the verb is only transitive it is sufficient to simply change "Transitive verb" to "Verb"." So I went back and removed (transitive) from those verb definitions of verbs I had changed and that only had transitive verb definitions. Today, I've removed "Transitive" off a few headers and NOT added (transitive) to the definitions. I'll stop for now.
What should it be? As I said I prefer your approach. It simplifies the rule, and we can get rid of that "In almost all cases... " sentence in the description of the category --Makearney 22:53, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
The "temp" thing is just a way of referring to a template (with a link to it or its documentation, without invoking the template. You should be adding, e.g., {{context|transitive|lang=und}} (I wrapped nowiki tags around several cases above to keep this page from invoking the template)
On the other point, almost all verbs in English are transitive, and it is pointless to endlessly specify this. (Unlike some other languages, where it can affect subject markers, etc.) The only interesting cases are the intransitive verbs, and the ones that can be either. But since you are always adding the tags to the def lines, this won't matter. (Even though it is pure noise; the vast majority of English verbs say, properly, "Verb". Period. ;-) Robert Ullmann 23:05, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
There are some unusual verbs where it is helpful, even though they are transitive like almost all; dead is probably a good example ;-) Robert Ullmann 23:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Robert's approach has the virtue of reducing the textual noise in entries.
I'd be willing to say that for a verb definition:
  1. the absence of either {{context|transitive|lang=und}} or {{context|intransitive|lang=und}} means transitive usage
  2. {{context|transitive|lang=und}} can be added for clarity such as when a verb has both transitive and intransitive usage
  3. {{context|intransitive|lang=und}} is required for a definition describing intransitive usage.
--Makearney 03:41, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, keeping in mind that this applies to English; there are other languages where the markers are significant in both cases, or rarely valuable at all. If you convert the "Transitive verb" header for a non-English entry, it should always be tagged on the definition line. Robert Ullmann 13:51, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Form of templates[edit]

When you add a template like {{plural of}}, please be sure to wikify the parameter. In other words, use {{plural of|[[regard]]}} rather than {{plural of|regard}}. This reason for this is that pages without wikilinks do not count towards our page total, so we don't get credit for having that entry. --EncycloPetey 03:22, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Then appearances are deceiving. The text I see with {{plural of|[[regard]]}}, is the same as for {{plural of|regard}}. Notably "regard" is highlighted in blue , at least in my browser, regardless of whether the braces are present or not. So I must be mistaken in assuming that the template automatically takes care of that. Makearney 03:39, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
The template automatically makes the link and displays it correctly, but the software that tallies the page total is separate. It looks for wikilinks in the form of square brackets. Wikilinks automatically added by a template don't count. It's stupid, but it's the way things work right now. --EncycloPetey 03:43, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sigh... Such is software. I don't really know how many I did that to. Though I suppose I can go back over my contributions Makearney 03:58, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Can I assume that what you said above, that all parameters should be wikified, is true for all templates, not just a few, or is true for the "standard" templates?
I started reviewing my template updates, looking for cases where the square brackets are absent. I recall that initially I just left bracketing alone. If the text item I was replacing had brackets, then I would make sure the corresponding item would also. If there were no brackets, I wouldn't add them. I started eliminating brackets later when I discovered that doing so appeared to have no consequences, and to be consistent with the general intentions of templates: standardization and simplification.
I ask because there are entries that perhaps never had brackets, that I can be adding the brackets to now. Makearney 13:04, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't bother going back to add any brackets. It's a job better left to bots. Rod (A. Smith) 18:31, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Edit to real[edit]


In your edit to real, was it your intent to remove mention of realer and realest? If so, may I ask why?

RuakhTALK 01:50, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Mea Culpa. At the same time I was thinking, is this the right way to proceed or should I flag it in one of the discussion groups or the talk page of this entry? So I guess this was also a protocol test.
I thought to remove realer/realest because I've never encountered either. That of course is insufficient reason. I then spent some time outside of wiktionary trying to find credible usage. I didn't find anything. The article itself makes no mention of either. wiktionary has an entry for realer, BUT that entry says little more than what is in the entry for real. That me pushed over my threshold, which perhaps needs to be reset, or I need to raise my concern more publicly before making a change such as that.
I presume the latter is what I should do. Yes?
In general, a question particularly with comparatives is what justifies an entry. I've felt that the rules that add -er and -est to form comparative and superlative rather casual. I've encountered uniquer for example, but never have thought it quite legitimate. And just now since I mentioned uniquer, I thought I'd look it up. I actually like how it is covered in Wiktionary, where preferred usage of more unique and most unique is clearly indicated, and under Usage notes uniquer and uniquest are mentioned. Makearney 02:58, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
The wiktionary entry for comparable includes the definition.
3. (grammar) of an adjective, able to be compared.
"Big" is a comparable adjective, since it can take the forms "bigger" and "biggest"; but "unique" is not comparable.
Makearney 03:27, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. Firstly, we do include uncommon and colloquial forms (though we generally mark them as such). Secondly, it doesn't make sense to just remove the link to realer from real; either the form realer exists, and we need the link, or it doesn't, and realer should be deleted. Thirdly, if you think that realer doesn't exist and realer should be deleted, then you should bring that thought to Wiktionary:Requests for verification, giving other editors a chance to demonstrate that the term exists and has the sense we're saying it has. —RuakhTALK 05:13, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
This is good. Somewhere in either wiktionary or wikipedia documentation there is the phrase "be bold" which I recall floating through my consciousness as I was making those edits. "be bold" does not mean "be rude", which I see is ultimately how my edit is naturally percieved. My apologies. Thanks for making this clear. Makearney 15:50, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Hi, just FYI, in {{en-verb}} and its kin you don't want to linkify the various forms, because it prevents the template from bolding them. —RuakhTALK 19:15, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm. This raises the question, what do you mean by "its kin"? In the section above "Form of templates" EncycloPetey tells me to wikify the parameters of templates like {{plural of}} because of link counting. I thought {{en-verb}} was such a template. Sounds like there is some inconsistency here. I understand at this point that I should wikify the parameters of {{plural of}} but not of {{en-verb}}. Is this correct? What about the remaining templates we are starting to use? Makearney 02:25, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
With the inflection templates — the templates you use on the line after the part-of-speech header — you don't want to linkify the inflected forms. With the form-of templates — the templates you use on a sense line that produce a definition — you do, except (so I'm told) for {{misspelling of}}. The whole thing's a bit silly, I know, but that's how we have it set up right now, for a few different reasons. —RuakhTALK 03:12, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

past and adjectives[edit]

You've removed the Adjective form from a number of entries; this is not right. While it is true that just about any past form of a verb can be "adjectified", as with most nouns, there are some words where the adjectival form needs to be shown. An good example is applied. Especially (as in that case) when there are terms derived from the adj. form, and translations of the adjective that may not be verbs in the other language. (The verb form itself we don't translate; only at the lemma/infinitive). Robert Ullmann 13:20, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

A good rule of thumb for whether a past form is an adjective as well (besides having differing shades of meaning) is whether the un- form exists as an adj. as well: unscheduled, unloaded, disfavoured; but not unraped, unwalked, unkilled. Robert Ullmann 13:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course, "unloaded" is usually "unload" + "-ed", rather than "un-" + "loaded". (That said, I don't have a better test to offer, so this isn't a terribly helpful comment, heh. Sorry.) —RuakhTALK 15:40, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. Sorry for mucking things up. I'll review what I've done particularly those you have reverted before proceeding further if it at all. I find it interesting that you chose to say that "just about any past form of a verb can be adjectified". I was attending ( or trying to attend) to the participle, which is an adjective form. I focused on past participles of the words yesterday, and was planning to look at present participles next. My thinking was that words which are participles can have verb and adjective definitions under the verb heading. I have no argument about the translations, I was hoping that I had preserved the match between definition and translation and thus adjective vs verb usage. I guess I did not. It is an interesting but tricky area. Makearney 02:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I see that all my edits of this sort were removed by bot. So be it. I'll stop this entirely. I will assert that the definition of participle, "A form of a verb that functions as an adjective and, when combined with a form of auxiliary verbs such as have or be, forms certain tenses or moods of the verb." and the templates Template:new_en_verb_pres_part and Template:new_en_verb_past suggested to me strongly the particular edits I made. Maybe some words of clarification would be useful to keep others from stumbling to the same conclusion. Something along the lines of what you've written above. I fear this is both a hazard and virtue of adjectives and participles. It may be just my own particular demon. Makearney 04:04, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


Hi, Makearney. this edit didn't include any summary comment. What was its purpose? Rod (A. Smith) 18:27, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

The purpose was to update the template style. It was supposed to be a trivial edit. I suspect you are about to tell me I have done the reverse.
Motivation: I saw several plurale tantum entries that used the '''word''' {{context|pluralonly|lang=und}} style. I also thought I read somewhere that templates of the style {{infl|en|noun... are obsolete or at least deprecated. I can't find that particular page at this time.
I actually made the change in error. I was experimenting to see if there was an apparent difference in the output. Once I saved it, I decided to leave it and see if I drew attention. I do understand that appearance can be deceiving and that the xtml of two styles can be different and yet produce the same output.
So please do tell me about or point me to a description of the proper thing to do here. I modified "remains" although there {{infl|en|noun... was not used.Makearney 20:08, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Your edit wasn't terrible, because entries with {{pluralonly}} will probably eventually be put on a cleanup list to ensure that they are categorized into the relevant grammatical category, but in the meantime, the edit removed from Category:English nouns. There is no requirement to use {{infl}}, but it definitely is not deprecated and would normally only be replaced if there is a more specific template for the entry's particular grammatical category (including its language). Depending on the particular entry, then, it may make sense to change {{infl|en|noun}} to {{en-noun}} or to change {{en-noun}} to {{infl|en|plural}}, but I am not aware of any reason to change {{infl}} to plain markup. Thanks for the cleanup work you've done to date. Keep up the good work. :-) Rod (A. Smith) 21:19, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Excessive use of "uncountable"[edit]

I am on a micro-crusade to reduce the number of nouns displayed as uncountable. Many of the plurals are not very common, especially in everyday speech (which is why editors show them as uncountable), but are relatively more common in writing (which is why it is trivially easy to find Google Books quotations. Keep excising those "uncountables". DCDuring 16:12, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Indeed! I will continue to do so as I encounter them Makearney 21:23, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I just found that all four senses of evolution were deemed uncountabled, but confirmed (to myself) using g.b.c. that NONE of them were! DCDuring 21:25, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Plurale tantum and singulare tantum[edit]

If I understand these terms correctly, then

  1. plurale tantum is a noun that is only used in the plural form. scissors, pants
  2. singulare tantum is a noun that is only used in the singular form. e.g. dust, wealth, documentation

Either form maybe countable or uncountable, e.g. plurality when used as an uncountable noun is a singulare tantum... I think.

The above is not a recognized definition. see [1] and [2]

That a word is only plural or only singular may not be apparent with the word in isolation. The word may have none of the usual endings that one would recognize as being plural. The verbs used with a reveals the noun's plurality. This is English so course there are exceptions"

"????? tantum" is a noun used with both singular and plural verbs, sheep. Or as the wiktionary entry puts it: sheep is the singular form, sheep is the plural form.

As an aside, the terms regular and irregular seem ambiguous when applied to nouns. It appears that they are applied to indicate how the plural is formed, i.e. by adding just '-s', or something else, or to indicate plurale or singulare tanti. The community of wiktionary editors wisely appear to have eliminated "regular" and "irregular" from terminology and templates

Putting this altogether I expect the en-noun templates to cover all the cases. I think they perhaps do. However, I don't see examples of plurale tantum and singulare tantum in the examples for Template_talk:en-noun

I am quite confused about this, but am reasonably sure that the template does not address this well. There is some kludge for getting the right result using "en-noun", but it involves a lot of typing, AFAIK. DCDuring 19:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

My latest thinking about this is leaning in the direction of: 1.A noun being countable means it that may have both countable and uncountable usages. 2. An uncountable noun has no countable usage. A noun being uncountable means it has no countable usages, but it may be used with either plural or singular verb forms but not both. i.e. this is a hypothesis to be researched. And as I review my former comments seems half-baked. Makearney 23:17, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

We're learning together. I can laugh or cry when I look at some of my earlier editing efforts. The only thing that helps is looking at some more senior folk's early efforts.
Your reading above seems to reflect actual practice, but not necessarily (weasel word!) the way it 'sposed to be. There has been some progress in that there are now tags for both countable and unountable that one puts in at the sense level: {{context|countable|| and {{context|uncountable|lang=und}}. The trick that one needs at the inflection-line level for {{en-noun}} are to put {{en-noun|[[plurale tantum}} or something like {{en-noun|[[plurale tantum|always plural in form]]}}. Also, by typing {{en-noun|baggages|-}} on the entry page for "baggage" one would would see both the plural and a notation that it was both countable and uncountable. I hope that helps at the mechanics level. I think the way to read singulare tantum and plurale tantum is that they relate solely to the form of the word and not at all to its meaning, which has to be accommodated in the sense line if there is any ambiguity. You might want to ask a question of the author of the more recently created of {{context|countable|lang=und}} and {{context|uncountable|lang=und}}, which you can find by typing "template:countable" in the search box. DCDuring TALK 23:45, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. I like your idea/observation whatever that there are properties of nouns that apply separately at the form(inflection-line) and sense levels. Currently there is inconsistency and I am just trying to sort out the direction wiktionary is, wants to, or should be heading. I am glad to hear that there are tags for dealing with uncountable and countable at both levels. I'll start correcting things as I encounter them. As for plurale and singulare tantum... I need to observe and collect more examples. I suspect there should also be sense and inflection line tags. I think I recall seeing a word with a plural inflection and yet a singulare or plurale tantum sense... I should have written it in down... Perhaps I did... There is a similar problem with comparatives in adjectives.Makearney 17:13, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


I looked at an article by the WP author you referred to on your user page. He says "meat" is a mass noun in the infobox for that article. But beef and lamb are both meats. "Meat" is not a mass noun; it is a noun with both countable and uncountable senses, as WT shows, albeit imperfectly. DCDuring 19:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

"Mass noun" = "uncountable noun", which meat mainly is (though it, like almost all non-count nouns, can be used as a count noun meaning "a kind of ~"). —RuakhTALK 20:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
All in all, the correctness of countability for nouns and comparatives for adjectives seems ultimately guided by style. e.g. I don't think I have heard or read "meats" used as in "But beef and lamb are both meats." until just now. That only reveals my provincial New England exposure. Makearney 18:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


Wiktionary is just beginning to indicate context in association with definitions. Right now context is indicated in parenthesized text at the beginning of a definition. I am thinking that the more context is indicated, the more text will appear before the definition. Yet I think when a user looks up a word, definitions are first on their mind and then context. So, I'd like to see context moved to the end of a definition. Makearney 19:28, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure that is a good idea. In most of the entries that have context labels today, having the context first makes more sense. As more context meta-content gains acceptance, it will very naturally move to a =Usage notes= section. --Connel MacKenzie 19:33, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure that my suggestion is the right solution either. I made note of it to get myself thinking about what I would like as a long term solution. My principal initial point is that I don't want the definitions buried. Can you point to any examples or trials of migration of context into =Usage notes= that you recommend?
And... a newbie question... How is it that you saw my comment? Did you deliberately put a watch on my discussion page at some point? Or as one with privs do such statements just show up automatically somehow? I've considered my discussion page a place for half baked ideas, yet I appreciate the input and feedback. Makearney 20:19, 6 February 2008 (UTC)