"for" = of

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 11 04:21:09 UTC 2009

I disagree (about something screwy happening -- not about *"the capit{o,a}l
for Kuwait". Consider "*n + 1 > n*  is true for all values of *n*."

This is not something that is true *of* *n*, in the way that "*n* is even"
is true of 12 but is not true of 17. In fact, I'm a bit uncomfortable even
formulating those statements thus; the English usage seems to assume what
the mathematical notation makes explicit by expressing the number with the
placeholder *n*.

My own version of that is "*There's a filk* in there somewhere* is true for
all values of *there*" -- i.e., it's possible to write a more-or-less
sf-fannish song on that subject or about that person or to the tune of that
song or incorporating the quip someone just made or...

I think I will assert that "S(x) is true for all (some, specified) values of
x" is mathematical dialect of art, and declare it settled. :-)

m a m

On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 6:26 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Then something screwy is happening in the distribution of "for."
> Not even a mathematician would write, "What is the capitol for Kuwait?"
> JL
> On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 2:38 PM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> > Subject:      Re: "for" = of
> >
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Dipping almost randomly into early-20th-century mathematical and
> > philosophical journals, I find an abundance of such phrasing as "true for
> > all values of the variable."
> >
> > --Charlie
> >

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