rectangle vs. square

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 27 18:55:23 UTC 2010

Mark Mandel wrote
> One disagreement with Garson: example (3) is not relevant. "Square with"
> refers to relative orientation, not to shape: '(of the room in question)
> having the sides parallel with the sides of (the sepulchral chamber'.

Yes, example 3 is flawed. Thank you for pointing that out.

(3 new version) Flats, or Flat Bars. - Rolled bars of iron or steel of
rectangular but not square sections.

Also, I should have noted Larry Horn's example (one of several):

> "It's not sufficient to call that a ___, you can more
> perspicuously call it a ____"  (as in the old
> Volkswagen commercial's claim "It's not a car,
> it's a VW").

Following this pattern a speaker who believed squares were instances
of rectangles might still say:
It's not a rectangle, it's a square.

> On Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Garson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:
>> I certainly agree that the issue is complex and context is important.
>> Consider the following example in the domain of architecture. The
>> writer assumes that the set of rectangular objects includes squares.
>> Therefore he or she must explicitly rule out the inclusion of squares.
>> [1] ... what Pliny tells us is that the building was rectangular (but
>> not square), that it was surrounded by a colonnade of thirty-six
>> columns, ...
>> The parenthetical remark "(but not square)" would be redundant if the
>> speaker thought that the set of rectangles already excluded squares.
>> Here are another two examples:
>> [2] Lumber is used that has rectangular, but not square, cross
>> section, and is always oriented so that the longer dimension is
>> parallel to the load (ie, usually is vertical).
>> [3] This room was rectangular, but not square with the sepulchral
>> chamber, as it lay 25=C2=B0 east of north ; =E2=80=A6
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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