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Re: Proposed ballot for the constitutional amendment

On Mon, 2003-10-13 at 23:02, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Oct 2003 22:44:28 +0100, Oliver Elphick <olly@lfix.co.uk> said: 

> > Nevertheless, that use of "shall" is so strange that I had to read
> > the sentence twice to understand it.  It is not correct English.
> 	So you say. I beg to differ. 

Manoj, you say you were taught English - I infer that it is not your
native language.  It is mine.  Furthermore, my father taught English and
I was at a good school while grammar was still being taught.

>  (You should really examine the
>  sentence you quote -- that it being the speaker's intent, not the
>  subject's, and that the third person form was used).

I did examine it.

> > The sentence does not fit the grammatical rule you quote, because a
> > voting mechanism is incapable of having or expressing an intention
> > or purpose.  It is just a thing, and you are merely describing how
> > it will behave, therefore the proper word to use is "will".  

I see that I gave a misleading description of the rule.  The speaker's
intent can indeed mandate the use of shall for the second and  third
person.  However, that does not apply here, unless you wish to convey a
very unexpected meaning.

The paradigms of this usage are "I will drown and no one shall save
me!", expressing a determined intent to suicide, and "I shall drown and
no one will save me", describing the situation and expressing despair. 
Here, "no one shall save me" - using the third person with "shall" -
expresses the speaker's fixed intention.

Your apparent intended meaning in

        "Do _NOT_ encrypt your ballot; the voting mechanism shall not be
        able to decrypt your message."
is to warn people that the mechanism cannot cope with encrypted
messages.  The sentence actually expresses your determination to prevent
its having that capability, which is a very unexpected meaning.  Perhaps
that is what you mean.

> 	Will implies a wish as well. You think Devotee can have
>  wishes, but not intents? You should probably learn about the concept
>  of anthropomorphism.

Devotee?  I don't understand that reference.

Of course the original meaning of "will" is to express intention, and
you may still say, "He wills to do so and so" to express someone's
intention.  But that is not the same as the normal future tense in the
second and third person.  That is, of course, the whole point of this
grammatical rule.

> 	In any case, this is no longer open to debate.

It's your document.  However, since many non-English speakers read this
and may be guided by it, misinformation should not go unchallenged. 
There are no doubt many native English speakers who need to learn it

Oliver Elphick                                Oliver.Elphick@lfix.co.uk
Isle of Wight, UK                             http://www.lfix.co.uk/oliver
GPG: 1024D/3E1D0C1C: CA12 09E0 E8D5 8870 5839  932A 614D 4C34 3E1D 0C1C
     "I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is 
      within my heart."             Psalms 40:8 

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