[Ads-l] A spade is not a shovel.

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 1 16:51:40 UTC 2017

> On 1 Aug 2017, at 08:53, Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET> wrote:
> On 8/1/17 5:28 AM, Barretts Mail wrote:
>> What I was trying to point out is that when working in the yard, the pointy one works reasonably well for both jobs. BB
> Pointy spades or pointy shovels?
> (You must have just the right kind of loose yet clumpy soil. In general,
> the geometry of spades makes them terrible for scooping and moving, and
> the geometry of shovels makes them sub-optimal for transferring your
> body weight into a cutting action.)

lol. I just try to keep remembering that in playing cards, spades are pointy.

Yes, but in the garden, the amount of dirt to be moved doesn’t appear to be worth the effort or money to buy an extra, heavier tool and lug it around for use. (It might in fact be worth the trouble, but figuring that out is not the first thing on people’s minds when working in the yard.) My argument is that the lack of (apparent) utilitarian difference may have triggered the conflation of the two terms in AmE.

That said, I am intrigued by the idea that I might save some labor and lumbar pain with a shovel, but still, in two recent incidents (one for moving wood chips and the other getting dirt from a narrow area), the shovel would have been very inefficient. BB
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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