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Re: NEWS.22: `allows' without an object

From: Ken Manheimer
Subject: Re: NEWS.22: `allows' without an object
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 12:00:39 -0400

On 5/29/07, David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:
"Robert J. Chassell" <address@hidden> writes:

> You could write, `enables reading mail', too; that makes more sense.

Actually, I find that "enables" is suffering from a similar degree of
awkwardness.  I'd probably use "facilitates reading mail ..." instead:
this is an enabled-object-free verb, though a bit more pompous.  More
closely related to "allows" would be "permits reading"; this is
simpler than "facilitates", though, like "allows", slightly wrong as
this is not a question of permission.

not sure what you mean by "enabled-object-free verb", but i often find
"facilitates" a lot more stuffy than "enables".  in any case, they
both avoid misuse of "allows".

> Before Eli Zaretskii made this observation, I had not noticed the
> distinction between gaining permission and gaining an ability, but
> it is there and important.  After all, we are not talking about

(i think robert is referring to the point i made, not eli?)

> humans getting permission from the `movemail' code, as `allow'
> suggests, but gaining from it the power to act.

exactly.  this is one of those subtle misuses which continues because
it is common, yet (i doubt) is part of gradual language evolution,
because relaxing the meaning of "allow" so much would render it

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