Subject: Re: What goes into a documentation string?
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: 1999/08/15
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <7p630u$>
Kent M Pitman  <> wrote:
| I noticed in prep for the ISO ISLISP spec that many Europeans, and 
| particularly the Germans, were really worried every time I'd even say
| "something will happen" and wanted me to rewrite this as 
| "something shall happen" as if somehow this made it stronger.
| This week in German class we were looking at the German word "will"
| and I found myself wondering if this was just a false cognate for them;
| in my dialect of English, "will" is either imperative or unconditionally
| predictive, which amounts to the same in computerspeak. I know in some
| English dialects there is a subtle difference, but it's lost on me.

If I'm recalling correctly (and I'm not at all sure it's 100% correct),
what I was taught in high school English was that which of "shall/will"
meant indicative/imperative depended on the "person" of the sentence:

			Indicative			Imperative
		Singular	Plural		Singular	Plural
1st-person	I shall...	We will...	I/we will...	We shall...
2nd-person	You will...	You will...	You shall...	You shall...
3rd-person	He/She shall...	They will...	He/She will...	They shall...

Though clearly the subtleties of the 1st- & 3rd-person forms have been
generally lost in recent common usage....


Rob Warnock, 8L-855
Applied Networking
Silicon Graphics, Inc.		Phone: 650-933-1673
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