Did you know?’ … How could you?

When we say ‘did you know’ perhaps we really mean ‘do you know’… because ‘did’ implies the past tense and if you ‘did know’ something in the past, it means you don’t know that something now. So you won’t know if you ever knew, because if you ‘did’ that was then, not now…so you have forgotten it… !

You could say ‘Did you know it in (say) 1955′ on the assumption that you have known (it) since 1955 and still do, but what’s the point?

The logical answer to the question ‘did you know’ something would surely be ‘I don’t know’, or ‘yes I did and I still do!’

The ‘purpose’ of the of the question seems to be ‘do you know it now?’ So … should the expression be ‘do you know’ rather than ‘did you know’?

It’s a ‘living language’… they say ‘only pedants demand meaning these days!’


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Software-driven language translations

It’s well known that there are many examples of language translation software around. (eg. English/French). Some are very good indeed, but there’s a catch!

You may remember years ago the line used to define a computer’s usefulness, was ‘garbage in – garbage out!’ That is as true today, though the expression itself is not so fashionable.

However if you want to send some information to someone who doesn’t speak English, you can use one of these ‘machine translations’ … but they are designed to work only with good input. Which means that if the written English text is poor, the subsequent translation will be terrible!

‘Good English in … good translation out’


Olny Srmat Poelpe

The Scribe is a collector of many things on the subject of the English Language. The interesting piece below however, is not about the English language at all … and it certainly doesn’t excuse bad spelling! This is ‘brain stuff’, from Cambridge University.

Olny srmat poelpe can raed this.

I Cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. It’s the Phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,

It deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a wrod are paceld, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the first and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae . The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm.

This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter invilddaiuly, but the word as a wlohe. … Amzanig!

Source: ‘Word tricks’