Author Topic: Guts vs nuts  (Read 4171 times)

blackrockrose

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Guts vs nuts
« on: July 28, 2014, 09:04:21 AM »
The challenge game for 27th July allows 'guts' as a common word, but 'nuts' is not even allowed as rare. This seems inconsistent. If the plural 'guts' is allowed, presumably as having a distinct meaning (courage) from the singular 'gut', why not 'nuts' (crazy) as being a separate meaning from the singular 'nut'?

'Gutsy' was also common, while 'nutsy' (which I've never even heard of, and which the dictionary defined as 'crazy') was allowed as rare.

Could we add 'nuts' please, Alan?

pat

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 06:35:32 PM »
There are other words that fall into the category of being a noun, adjective or third person singular verb inflection in their own right, while also being a plural. Examples I can think of off the top of my head are 'pants' (allowed), 'does' (allowed), 'taps' (not allowed) and 'divers' (not allowed).

With regard to the last two I seem to recall Alan saying that people might be confused if the game seemed to allow occasional 'plurals' and that's why they're not accepted, yet some of them are allowed. My view is that if a word that's a plural also exists as a noun etc. in a completely different context then it should be allowed. At least that way we'd have consistency and a straightforward rule that would save Alan having to explain each word's inclusion or exclusion.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 06:38:59 PM by pat »

mkenuk

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 07:18:46 PM »
I'm in total agreement with both Pat and Rose; there are lots of precedents: short / shorts, tong / tongs, rapid / rapids, blue / blues, more / mores have all appeared in games recently.


MK

(apologies if any of these examples are spoilers; none of the current three games has an 's' among its letters)

MK

« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 07:21:18 PM by mkenuk »

oops

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 07:10:55 AM »
Speaking of plurals, don't you think the plural of "axis" should be allowed, even though it is spelled the same as the plural of "axe"?

pat

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 06:53:06 PM »
That one's an oddity. However you look at it, it's still a plural and only a plural (or a 3rd person verb inflection), and in the case of axe formed by simply adding 's'. Although the singular can also be spelt ax, so in that case you're adding es. Hmm. On balance I'd say that one shouldn't be accepted. IMO.

TRex

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2014, 04:28:02 AM »
I could be mistaken, but I think the criterion is whether the form is more frequently used as a plural in which case it is not permitted or as a something different. So if guts is more frequently used to mean courage, as in 'that took guts', than as a plural of the innards or a verb form of evisceration, then it may be allowed. Whether it is common or rare is a separate question.

Alan has been faced with such questions over and over again.

Tom44

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014, 06:46:55 AM »
I think TRex has the right of it.  You can be a nut (crazy) or nuts (crazy).  You can have a gut (intestines) or guts (courage).  Hence, nut and nuts both can mean the same thing, but guts is a separate word from the plural of intestines (of which I have plenty as you can see from my picture).
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Alan W

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2014, 12:08:06 PM »
I try to be guided by what is most likely to enhance people's enjoyment in playing Chihuahua.

Hence I'm not so much concerned with issues of logic or consistency as with perceptions of logic and consistency. This is difficult of course, because of the diversity of players, ranging from someone who's just stumbled on the site and started playing for the first time to a veteran of the Pants Wars who has all the permitted plurals noted down on index cards.

However, it's not only new players who can be caught off guard by plurals. If I might allow a personal note to intrude into the discussion, a common word I missed in yesterday's Standard puzzle was rapids. I, of all people, should be aware this word is acceptable, since I added it to the list in 2010, after wrestling with the issues it raises in this post:

Quote
My first reaction to this suggestion was that it should clearly be accepted, as rapid is an adjective, and not the singular of rapids.

However, on looking into it, I find that most dictionaries have a listing for rapid as a singular noun, meaning a stretch of a river with fast-moving water, while noting that it is "usually" used in the plural. The singular usage does seem to be quite rare. One example quoted in the OED is from a 1900 letter by Bernard Shaw: "We steered the Society safely through a rapid in which it might have been wrecked." At the same time, the form rapids is sometimes treated as a singular word, though this is also fairly rare: "As with most things, there is more than one way to shoot a rapids." (Death on the Barrens, 2010, by George James Grinnell.)

I'm still inclined to think rapids should be allowed, since the singular rapid is little-used, and the word rapid is overwhelmingly used as an adjective.

This is far from an isolated example. I am continually missing out on words that look like plurals. Am I the only one who has this problem? If not, are forumites really sure that they want to add still more such words, to trip us up more frequently in the future?

I won't rule on nuts, or axes, right now, but the approach I have taken in the past is outlined in this post from 2009 (responding to the suggestion of taps, in the sense of a bugle call):

Quote
Words like this have a long history in Chihuahua, Tom. At one time I was swayed by reasoning similar to yours, and willing to accept any word ending in S which had a usage where there was no corresponding singular word, even where there were other usages as a conventional plural. At this time I agreed to accept hives (the disease) and divers (several). However, subsequent discussion about words for items of apparel caused me to change my mind. (As a result, hives and divers were not added to the list.) A search on "plurals" should lead you to several threads discussing these issues. Incidentally, threads is another one of those words, as an informal term for clothes. When someone says, "Nice threads!" you don't reply, "Thanks. Which thread do you like best?"

The approach I've been following for some time is to look at each case individually, and try to weigh up the relative familiarity of different meanings of a word. I conclude that most people seeing hives would think of structures housing bees, and most people seeing divers would think of those who engage in various aquatic pursuits. Pants is probably a borderline case, but as T says, I eventually gave in to relentless pressure.

I did actually give taps as an example, in this post, of words that I felt should not be accepted. A look in the dictionary reveals that tap has a surprising number of meanings, all of which can have an S appended to make a plural or verb inflection. I'm sure most people seeing the word taps would think of taps on the shoulder, dripping taps, phone taps, etc. Especially people outside the US, since it seems the military usage is specific to that country, but even in America, I think the military sense is strongly outweighed by other senses. (The Corpus of Contemporary American English has over 1600 occurrences of taps. I scanned the first 100, and there seemed to be only 2 instances of the military meaning.)

I can see that allowing pants and not taps will seem inconsistent to some players, but I fear that more people would perceive inconsistency if I allowed words like taps. Players who don't know of the military signal, or just don't think of it, will be wondering why taps is permitted while, say, pats is not.
Alan Walker
Creator of Lexigame websites

cmh

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2014, 02:10:15 AM »
Er    are you seriously telling me that people note down acceptable words in an index system????? Wow!!!!!!

pat

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2014, 02:35:59 AM »
A tongue-in-cheek remark of Alan's, cmh, but probably not far from the truth. Some people take the game very seriously.

mkenuk

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2014, 05:10:54 PM »
There's no need to keep a list of accepted plurals, on index cards or otherwise. There is a list of 'accepted plurals' already available in the forum archives; Alan posted it in November 2010.

 Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to add a link to it in this post - it's one of the '101 things I still need to learn about using the internet' - but it's easy to find by typing 'accepted plurals' in the 'search' box.

MK

A suggestion - might it be possible to add a link to this list to the forum 'permanently' - like the 'word suggestions under review' list?

 8)

cmh

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2014, 01:06:22 AM »
We all play the game for our own reason  but to me checking lists is like cheating (yourself). I play to try to keep my brain active and not to be top of the list but I suppose that less than driving ambition in life sums me up! Still as long as we all enjoy ourselves on Chi that's all that matters.

Ozzyjack

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2014, 09:26:49 AM »
to me checking lists is like cheating (yourself).

I can accept this contention if one was to use the lists every time but it seems reasonable to me to check up from time to time what the current rulings are.  As Alan has said it is not always a matter of pure logic and sometimes requires the exercise of very fine judgements on which there can be a divergence of opinion.  I think Alan does a remarkable job of walking the tightrope. 

An analogy.  You don't consult the Highway code every time you go for a drive but unless you have a photographic memory it is instructive to refresh from time to time to reassure yourself that you are doing the right thing.  This is particularly important if the rules might change or you are driving in a different jurisdiction/country.

Still as long as we all enjoy ourselves on Chi that's all that matters.

I can accept this contention unreservedly.
Cheers, Jack


Grant us the serenity to accept the things We cannot change;
Courage to change the things we can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

cmh

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Re: Guts vs nuts
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2014, 03:52:12 AM »
I can also accept your view and the Highway Code analogy. However my view is that for me missing a word (plural or otherwise) is missing a word. Whether or not there has been a discussion and a subsequent decision on acceptance or rejection doesn't bother me. If my brain is having a good day I may manage to remember that word next time it can be found    -    but knowing me I will remember that one and then miss a screamingly obvious frequently occurring word instead!!!!!! Glad to see someone else though who just loves to play  Chi  in their own way.