when "lit'rally", pariah phrasal modifier,

the cliche'd apercu, the careworn phrase,

restored from triteness (lest one be a liar). ]]>

Aaron Davies said,

April 10, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

@allison, richard: it might also be compared to sticking a "よ" ("yo") particle on the end of a sentence. i'm fairly sure i've seen various anime characters saying "ですよ" (" ") to mean "it really is!!!".

Dattebayo?

]]>If you have two points, for example, they will determine a unique straight line (a 1-dimensional polynomial) that fits through them. But you can also draw an infinite number of 2-dim polynomials through the two points, or 3-dim polynomials, and so on.

I was thinking only of polynomials of order higher than n, so you are correct about polynomials of lower order.

]]>In his usage, the polynomial fits only by passing directly through each point.

I would guess you mean 'through' meaning 'in the midst of' or 'between' – i.e. by some metric it's 'near' to each point.

Or if not, consider that no straight line (polynomial of degree 1) can pass through all the vertices of a triangle.

]]>*"Given n data points with different values of the independent variable you can always fit an order-(n-1) polynomial through them."*

In fact, given n data points (whether different values of the independent variable or not), it is always possible to fit through them any polynomial of any order, not only order-(n-1).

]]>I don't think anyone would actually use it this way. To my lay ear, "exponentially" is used as an intensifier for comparisons or for processes or developments, as in, "this week's syllabub is exponentially frothier than last week's", or "syllabub consumption in Wasilla seems to taking off exponentially" (when the speaker means that people are consuming more and more syllabub in Wasilla, rather than it's literally an exponential increase).

]]>Fortunately, it seems, our lexicographer is a better expert on usage than either Dryden or Pope.

]]>"Exponentially" seemed to me to have became fully unmoored when it started applying to only two data points (how many are needed to demonstrate superpolynomiality, anyway?)

An infinite number. Given n data points with different values of the independent variable you can always fit an order-(n-1) polynomial through them.

]]>@Carlos, Jerry, Barney

It's actually pretty cool that single noun phrases (or other types of phrases) can be simultaneously used and mentioned. Lots of parenthetical statements take advantage of this possibility (Splork, as the locals call it, is a substance that…, Alan, if I may call him that, told me… [i.e., "that" is coreferential with Alan as a name, not as a person]). I do find the caption a bit jerky for some reason, but probably not *simply* for the use-mention business.

]]>You can e-mail questions to individual Language Loggers—most or all of them have Web sites with contact information. You can also ask questions on various forums. I'm fond of the Usenet group alt.usage.english.

@Barney: I think Carlos's problem with the sentence is that the single instance of *Henri* seems to be simultaneously use and mention.