the vital importance of grammar in everyday life

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 6 21:35:54 UTC 2000

In a message dated 6/6/2000 3:58:06 PM, gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM writes:

<< Good point. I would ignore the person in the next stall. My

would be that he was asking for a newspaper. If it were the dorm, I would

hand over the sports section.

I would probably assume that the person in the stall next to me *heard* me

turning the paper. >>

Well, this just goes to demonstrate the vital importance of grammar in
everyday life! Here we see a case where a grammatical error could lead to not
getting toilet paper when it is really needed!

Good point yourself, gogaku. I should have made it clear that I was assuming
that I didn't actually HAVE a newspaper (I assume further that the majority
of people in toilet stalls do not have newspapers). Even so, since the use of
toilet paper in a toilet is pretty fundamental (no pun intended), I find it
difficult to believe that the interpretation of THE PAPER to mean 'the toilet
paper' would not occur to most people (despite the non-native use of the
determiner). Such an interpretation is made even more likely by the form of
the question--"Do you have the X?"--which entails that the questioner does
not know whether or not the hearer actually has X. Absent a rustling
newspaper, it is hard for me to see why 'newspaper' is a greatly better
interpretation than 'cigarette paper' or 'term paper'.

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