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Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:47 am UTC
by balr
Someone asked this on the Stack Exchange English site, and it got closed as unsuitable for a language site. Perhaps it'll fare better in a logic puzzle forum.

The puzzle is (as expressed by the original poster) to find the: largest word with multiple contractions.

Their offering is ....
The fish'n'chips'll've been all gone by the time we get to the restaurant!


....Which I hope makes it clear that they are looking for the longest single run of contracted words or phrases (ie no spaces) that make sense when used in a sentence (and no cheating with use-mention distinctions:)

Link to original

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:02 pm UTC
by skeptical scientist
balr wrote:Someone asked this on the Stack Exchange English site, and it got closed as unsuitable for a language site.

Bunch of grammar nazis... :evil:

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:04 pm UTC
by Qaanol
How is this scored? Most apostrophes wins, with letter count as a tiebreaker?

It can’t simply be letter count with a minimum of two apostrophes, because then “The <insert arbitrarily long chemical compound name>’ll’ve disappeared by the time we return to the lab.” is essentially unbeatable.

The other contribution on the linked page is leading by apostrophe count, and is usable in a sentence as, “The fo’c’s’le’d’ve been destroyed if that cannonball had hit the ship.”

In any case, another of the comments in the linked page correctly points out that “Fish ’N’ Chips” properly has spaces in it.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:14 pm UTC
by balr
How is this scored? Most apostrophes wins, with letter count as a tiebreaker?


Good question!

That sounds a fine scheme.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:18 pm UTC
by AvatarIII
Qaanol wrote:How is this scored? Most apostrophes wins, with letter count as a tiebreaker?

It can’t simply be letter count with a minimum of two apostrophes, because then “The <insert arbitrarily long chemical compound name>’ll’ve disappeared by the time we return to the lab.” is essentially unbeatable.

The other contribution on the linked page is leading by apostrophe count, and is usable in a sentence as, “The fo’c’s’le’d’ve been destroyed if that cannonball had hit the ship.”

In any case, another of the comments in the linked page correctly points out that “Fish ’N’ Chips” properly has spaces in it.


actually there are supposed to by hyphens between fish and and and and and chips

sorry i couldn't resist.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:47 pm UTC
by redrogue
AvatarIII wrote:actually there are supposed to by hyphens between fish and and and and and chips

sorry i couldn't resist.


Your post would have made more sense if there had been apostrophes between fish and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and chips, plus one before fish and another after chips.

*ducks*

Edit -- Like this:
actually there are supposed to by hyphens between 'fish' and 'and' and 'and' and 'chips'

My post shamelessly inspired by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_li ... _sentences

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:43 pm UTC
by skeptical scientist
redrogue wrote:Your post would have made more sense if there had been apostrophes between fish and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and chips, plus one before fish and another after chips.

Hypocrite. Also, I would have liked your post better without the edit.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:18 am UTC
by SANTARII
Scoring should be based on how many letters are removed by contraction, should it not?

'Twoudl've'elped'f'ed've'elped's father unload the car.
(It would have helped if he would have helped his father unload the car).

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:49 am UTC
by Adacore
I'm not sure you can concatenate 'elped onto the end of the preceding word. I'd just write it "'twould've 'elped" with a space between them :(

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:43 am UTC
by SANTARII
Why can you contract "would" and "have" and concatenate them, but not "have" and "helped"?
It's certainly SAID by most people as if it were one word, "would've'elped", you don't leave a gap between "would've" and "'elped", the consant sound of the previous word goes into pushing through to the "'elped", so I don't see why it can't be "'twould've'elped".

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:30 pm UTC
by Adam H
"I'll'nt've't," the hapless kindergarten teacher screamed amidst a riot of paper airplanes and spitballs.

Yes, it's shorter than the other suggestions, but it's more legitimate - as long as you can accept "have't" (have it), "willn't", and "not've"... But I think we can all agree those contractions should be more commonly used. :D

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:11 pm UTC
by TobiXTheGoodBoyX
The algorithm R U R' U' ne'ertheless'll'ven't worked to insert the corner; 'twill'ven't worked without a z2 rotation.
(nevertheless will have not) (it will have not)

Four apostrophes, and then three. I'm sure there much better. I just tried experimenting with longer words.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:59 am UTC
by MattSoave
So this topic has been inactive for a bit, but I think I've thought of a six-word contraction. The word is "y'all'll'ven't'd," or "you all will have not had."

However, I'm having trouble confirming that the grammar (a combination of future perfect and past perfect) is correct. My sample passage was:

"Today is January 1st. You all are taking the driver's license exam on February 1st. The law requires drivers to have a license for 6 months before driving passengers. If you all do not pass the exam on February 1st, then on August 1st, you all will have not had received your licenses 6 months prior." In other words, "y'all'll'ven't'd received your licenses 6 months prior!" :)

Thoughts? Is the phrase "you will have had received" valid? Then, is including "not" also valid?

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:59 pm UTC
by VectorZero
"have had received" is wrong. You could have received your license, or have had your license, but not have had received.

The main problem is that the negation should follow 'will'.

"Will we have had our licenses for six months?" "No, you will not have had them for six months."

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:44 pm UTC
by MattSoave
That was my thinking at first, but I wasn't sure how, then, to differentiate "received" and "have received" when projected into the future.

"I received" --> "I will have received"
"I have received" --> "I will have had received" ??

Very awkward, but this was the situation I could come up with for such phrasing: I'm completing a task on day 1. On day 3, I will be able to say (reflecting back), "I had completed that task before day 2." Therefore, if I complete the task on day 1, then I can project that on day 3, I will have had completed the task before day 2.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:07 pm UTC
by VectorZero
But you don't need to distinguish those cases. Going back to your original post, you don't combine future perfect and past perfect; what you are trying to convey is exactly the meaning of future perfect. That is, in the future, something happened in the future's past. You don't need to include 'had' to refer to the past because you use the past participle of 'to receive'.

You could change things to the passive voice if you really want to throw in an extra word: "You will have been given your licenses." But that doesn't help with the contraction issue.

The obvious solution is to have your drivers use time travel to go back in time and study harder for tomorrow's exam that they would fail if they did not use time travel: "In August, you would have not have had your licences for 6 months had you not gone back in time to study harder." Thus, would've'n't've'd.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:05 pm UTC
by MattSoave
Haha. That's easy to also say realistically and without time travel, though the phrase "I've my license" is more contrived than "I've received [other verb] my license." You don't need to tell me how contrived my sentence is, though. :)

I don't want to get too hung up on this, but I'm still thinking there's a distinction (whether or not there's a legit contraction is less important, and now I'm more interested if there's a valid distinction for what I described). I also really don't want to resist your refutation on principle, but I get the feeling that xkcd is the correct forum for such discussion, so I hope this is okay. Let me know if it's gotten to the point of being annoying. ;)

VectorZero wrote:what you are trying to convey is exactly the meaning of future perfect. That is, in the future, something happened in the future's past.


Well, what I was trying to convey wasn't just the "future's past," it was the "future's past's past." I.e., Referring to a point in the future where you are reflecting back on an intermediate point in time.

---

Scenario: If I complete a task on day 1 and my friend completes a task on day 2, then on day 4 I will be able to look back on day 3 and state "back then (i.e. back on day 3), I had completed the task before my friend."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case, there is a distinction between "I completed the task before my friend" and "I had completed the task before my friend," yes?

Also, on day 0, if I'm referring to day 1 (when I complete the task), I can say "I will have completed the task before my friend."

But, if on day 0 (first point of reference) I'm thinking forward to day 4 (second point of reference), I can refer back to day 3 with day 4 as my point of reference and say, "I will have had completed the task before my friend." I don't think it's sufficient to say, "I will have completed the task before my friend," as this isn't reflecting back on a day (day 3) previous to the future day (day 4). Phew.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:10 am UTC
by VectorZero
I don't think you can use a tense/aspect (in English, at least) to differentiate the future soon after an event from the future a few days after the same event. "This time tomorrow, I will have completed the task faster than you will have, and in three days time I still will have completed the task faster than you will have. And I will gloat."

More completely, "I am going to complete the task. Tomorrow I will complete the task and then I will have completed the task. Afterwards I will say I completed the task. I will have completed the task before I say I completed the task."

MattSoave wrote:I get the feeling that xkcd is the correct forum for such discussion.
I completely agree.

FWIW, IANAL

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:31 am UTC
by WarDaft
VectorZero wrote:"have had received" is wrong. You could have received your license, or have had your license, but not have had received.

The main problem is that the negation should follow 'will'.

"Will we have had our licenses for six months?" "No, you will not have had them for six months."


Of course I have had received licences piling up on my desk for six months now. Not very received are they?


This is English we're talking about, where there's a will, there's a way.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:16 am UTC
by VectorZero
Yes, that is a third option. Adjectividing the verb very nicely there.

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:08 am UTC
by tomtom2357
Haven't we wandered away from the original problem? Also, shouldn't this go in forum games? :D

Re: Longest english contraction

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:30 pm UTC
by HugeNerd
I believe I've found a case where y'all'll'nt've'd's works perfectly, assuming the speaker has at least one sibling:
Mom and Dad, if we (in the future) go to a parallel universe where you never met, y'all'll'nt've'd's.

Side note, it makes a haiku:
Y'all'll'nt've'd's:
You all will not have had us
Y'all'll'nt've'd's