On 16 Apr 2009, at 09:14, Robert Dober wrote:
> Q U E S T I O N:
> When we program in Ruby and write
>  File.open( "xxx" ) do | f | f.readlines end
> do we not feel stupid? Do we not have any pride to replace this with
>  File.readlines("xxx")
> ?
> Is the usage of four letter words or "bastard" to be interpreted like
> a counter point, does it have elegance or does it express emotional
> attachment.

'Lazy bastard' is an established self-deprecating term (along with =20
'lazy bitch', 'lazy cow', 'lazy sod', etc.) used to suggest that =20
someone only works hard at the things which need to be done and not at =20=

the things which don't. It can of course also be derogatory :)

More generally there's an established practice of saying more-or-less =20=

the opposite of what you mean and then letting the context and/or =20
verbal tone indicate that that's what you've done.

> Or do I have to acknowledge that I am old (OMG, I might even die, =20
> eventually)
> Please enlighten me.
> What about English Best Practices ( for Foreigners )?

I can't speak for American English which has its own laws on =20
vulgarity, but here in the UK you'll often find this kind of language =20=

used in the written form to indicate an air of informality as well as =20=

in the spoken form between friends or work colleagues. There is a =20
class divide in that traditionally the upper and working classes adopt =20=

this trait whilst the middle classes like to feign offence at it (I =20
blame those damn Puritans for that), but in recent decades a kind of =20
inverted snobbery has also given it currency amongst young =20
professionals - although not in a strictly formal business context or =20=

I suspect in the privacy of their own homes ;)

The rules on when exactly to use these forms tend to be very vague and =20=

instinctual so the best advice for non-native speakers is to steer =20
clear of vulgarities altogether (except for the occasional "bloody =20
hell" or "well I'll be buggered" as exclamations of surprise when the =20=

severity of a situation requires it) and instead concentrate on =20
adoption of other English forms which suggest informality: the use of =20=

contraction being the easiest to adopt (i.e. "he's" instead of "he =20
is") along with lazy vowel sounds and dropped "H"s.

Oh, and ignore absolutely everything written by the Grammar Police =20
(like "Eats, shoots and leaves") as they'll make your English read =20
like something from a 1940's Path=E9 News broadcast!


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
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raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason