A Conversation for Oddities of English

Two mistakes found!

Post 1


"Bookkeeper" is NOT the ONLY word with three pairs of double letters. Mississippi is another example.

It is possible that "Bookkeeper" is the only word with three CONSECUTIVE pairs of double letters.

More importantly:
"Inflammable" (with an N) absolutely does NOT mean "easy to burn". This is a common mistake. The word "Imflammable" (with an M) means "easy to burn", while "inflammable" (with an N) is supposed to mean "not flammable".

Of course, I could be wrong. The Guide could be definitive, while the reputable dictionaries I consulted could be wildly innaccurate. You never know.

Two mistakes found!

Post 2

Researcher 169522

Mississippi is a proper noun and thusly not part of the English language proper.
Other minor correction - when referring to English teachers, 'pendant' should be 'pedant'.

Third mistake, sort of

Post 3


St John's Wood may not contain letters from the word 'mackerel' but St being an abreviation of 'Saint' the full name of the station DOES contain the letter 'A'

I know, I'm being pedontic but hey..!

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Post 4

Southern Cross

And therefore does "undo" mean "not do"?

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Post 5

Thorfin Skullsplitter, berserk warrior (1+6)*(1+7-2+0)=42

Inflammable means the same thing as flammable, and the opposite of both is nonflammable, At least that's how it is here in the states

The Meaning of Inflammable

Post 6


It actually depends on who you ask. A lot of engineers will agree that the word "Imflammable" (with an M) means "easy to burn", while "inflammable" (with an N) is supposed to mean "not flammable". Some other folks will not. I guess it is not safe to use the word, at all, because of this confusion. That is why you never see it on trucks, anymore.

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Post 7


On the Simpsons, on 4-29-2001, Dr. Nick discovers that "inflammable" means "flammable". I guess this is the case in the medical industry.

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Post 8

Lodestone - join the Debating Society at A643925

Hang on: Whether or not Inflammable and flammable mean the same thing, neither of them mean "Easy to burn" anyway! They merely mean that they *Can* burn. Huh!

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Post 9

Researcher 170889

Well, it does mean they CAN burn, yet you never see 'Flammable' warnings on truckloads of wood, but you sure do see them on gasoline tankers. So there is a bit more than 'can' involved. More like 'likely to burn' whenever you see the word posted on something.

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Post 10

Researcher 170889

Moreover Mississippi is an American Indian word meaning 'Father of Waters' and not English at all!

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Post 11

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

*inspired by several postings from 170889 to say something, anything, in one of your threads so I can find you again - you really should open up your 'my space' homepage so people can talk 'to' you*

Yeah .. and what about committee.

Two mistakes found!

Post 12

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

Huh? Huh? C'mon! What about it, eh?
"Committee", eh? Got three double letters in it, right?
C'mon, c'mon. Speak up.
smiley - silly

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Post 13


Committee has three double letters, but they are NOT Consecutive!

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Post 14

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

Eeyores wonderful article, on which this conversation is founded, does not specify 'consecutive'.
Yes, in the given example, 'bookkeeping', the three double letters are consecutive. But the text claims it to be the 'only word with three double letters' and makes no mention of their being consecutive. That point only came up to obfuscate, and possibly settle, the great Mississippi dispute - the 'non-english' origins and 'proper noun' arguments against that lovely word notwithstanding.
Should Eeyore remedy the text to the further claim that those pairs in 'bookeeping' are consecutive and therefore unique, only then, would I happily withdraw my 'committee'.
smiley - smiley

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Post 15


Okay, so "committee" is another word with 3 double letters, which fits rules in the article.

Sorry about that last reply sounding so mean. I assumed it was established that there are other words with three pairs of double letters, and are now trying to find other words the consecutive double letters.

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Post 16

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

smiley - smiley It's all Eeeyore's fault. smiley - grr Let's get him/her/it! smiley - smiley


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Post 17


Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Eeyore Meant to say "consecutive" but Forgot.

If the Powers That Be would like to change this, I would be vey grateful.

I have been away from h2g2 for a while, and it is nice to see that there is still intelligent life on the site. smiley - smiley

The Meaning of Inflammable

Post 18


Yep, it's an Anglo-American difference. In England we still (last time I looked) use 'non-inflammable' to mean the opposite of 'inflammable' (English English) and of 'flammable' (Amer-English).

The Meaning of Inflammable

Post 19


I looked up the three words in my Chambers dictionary and found:

"Inflammable" defined as "adj. - that may be set on fire (see flammable)".

"Flammable" is simply defined as "inflammable", and doesn't even get its own heading (it is under "flame")

"Imflammable" is not in Chambers, and I have had difficulty finding a reliable example of it being used on the Net.

Does anyone have documentary evidence that the "IM" version exists?

Whilst looking them up, I learnt a new word that I thought some others might not be familiar with, so, share and share alike:

"flammiferous" = producing flame

A new one on me! smiley - smiley

The Meaning of Inflammable

Post 20


'Imflammable' is not a proper word, in the narrow sense that it isn't traditional: 'In-' is a traditional prefix, but 'Im-' is only trad' for words starting with b, p or m (eg 'immature', not 'inmature'; 'impossible', not 'inpossible').

'Inflammable', however, derives from the French word (same spelling), which is not a negative and does indeed mean 'has a propensity to be burned'. 'Inflammable' does not therefore follow the usual English rule for this class of (ex-Latin) words.

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