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Re: --report

From: Paul Hilfinger
Subject: Re: --report
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 14:54:33 -0700

 > | (I prefer active voice to passive.)
 > I prefer too, but I've always been told, in particular in scientific
 > papers, to promote passive :(

Tell me who told you this, and I will arrange an assassination.  Since
I don't have my copy of the little book here (Strunk & White, that
is), I'll let Mary-Claire van Leunen (A Handbook for Scholars) weigh

   "I wish that scholars were the only one who practiced the vice of
    passivity, but they are among the worst and should be chided for 
    it.  The passive voice ... is a perfectly lovely voice, useful for
    placing emphasis correctly, for facilitating parallel
    construction, for ducking ambiguous or uninteresting agency, and
    for sheer variety.  But it is not the normal working voice of
    English discourse.  Passive after passive, one on top of the
    other, can dull the most sparkling ideas and turn golden work to

    The experimental sciences outdo everyone else on this score.  You
    can read through paper after paper in which nobody ever does
    anything, nobody ever produces anything, nobody ever acts.  Things
    are done, results are produced, actions are accomplished, as if by
    unseen hands.  You the feeling that our laboratories are staffed
    by disembodied spirits."
 > | the point should be made that exp is a lookahead too?
 > Arg.  We disagree on the way to express gotos.  To me, it is an heresy
 > to name `exp' a lookahead here, both from the theoretical point of
 > view, and the implementation point of view.

I have to agree.  The left-hand side symbols produced by a production 
represent text that has already been scanned.  Calling it a
"lookahead" would be puzzling to say the least.  Furthermore,
lookaheads are intended to resolve "inadequate" states, where there
are choices as to what next to do.  The goto symbols are guaranteed by 
construction to be shiftable.

Paul H.

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