circular or endless phrase

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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Jan 04, 2002 7:01 pm

Does anyone know the name of a phrase that can be read beginning at any word within the phrase and still mean something? Do you have any examples? I can think of only the simplist: Love You, for instance, reads Love You or You Love. I'm looking for something in the 5 or 6 word range.

Thank you.

Dino
Submitted by Dino Brown (Boston - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 7:15 pm

...asking me as the president, would I understand reality

Me as the president? Would I understand reality asking?
As the president, would I understand reality? Asking me?
The president? Would I understand reality asking me? As?
President, would I? Understand reality asking me as The..!
Would I understand reality asking me as the president?
I understand reality asking me as the President would
Understand: reality asking me as the president, "Would I?"
Reality asking me: as the president, would I understand?
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 7:29 pm

Dino, I vote we call them ‘circular phrases’ – but I’m just too lazy to try to come up with one. (>;) Then again, I suppose ‘Ho, ho.’ would work! Or even better ‘Ho, ho, ho.’ Or even better ‘Ho, ho, ho, ho.’ Or even better ‘Ho, . . . . . (<:)
_____________________

Ken G – October 7, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 7:44 pm

dale, so that's how the democrat liberal thinks. Very good dale, A OK.
Reply from Dave Schroder (Dayton, Ohio - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 7:58 pm

Dave, thank you kindly. In fact, that was an actual quote from GWB
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:13 pm

I think the term "daisy chain," which my dictionary defines as "any interlinked series" fits these phrases well. I can't think of one longer than 2 or 3 words, though.
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:27 pm

Yes, it's a problem to construct these in English because word order is much more important for conveying the meaning in an English sentence than in one that is written in, say, Russian or Latin, where the inflexions (the changeable grammatical endings attached to most words) do the majority of the work of defining the relationships between the different elements in the sentence.

We also have definite and indefinite articles to contend with in English -- it's impossible to have a sentence that makes sense regardless of which word you start with if it contains the word 'the' or 'an', because no normal sentence ever ends with these words. Russian and Latin don't have them, so this problem doesn't arise in those languages.

As far as I cn see, in the case of English that mostly leaves available sentences that are based on imperative constructions, e.g.

You hit Bob now!
Hit Bob now, you!
Bob, now you hit!
Now you hit Bob!

It may be noted that the judicious use of a mobile comma is also sometimes required in order to create different clauses and thereby preserve meaning.

It usually also only works plausibly if you use a verb that has both a transitive aspect (lines 1, 2 and 4) and an intransitive aspect (line 3). For instance, you cannot esaily use an intransitive verb:

You grin Bob now!
Grin Bob now, you!
Bob, now you grin!
Now you grin Bob!

You sit Bob, now!
Sit Bob now, you!
Bob, now you sit!
Now you sit, Bob!

However, I am open to being persuaded by example that my generalisations do not apply in every case...
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:41 pm

Erik, this one is Canadian French.

I'm shouting at you:

"Erik, throw me out the window, my hat."

Reply from Dave Schroder (Dayton, Ohio - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 8:56 pm

Over my head that one went.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 9:10 pm

Here’s my ‘circle of four’ stab using the intransitive verb ‘come.’ In answer to the question, “Should I come?” one has, with the judicious use of the comma:

1) Yes, please do come.

2) Come, yes please do.

3) Do come, yes, please.

4) Please do come, yes.

(and, of course, there is the subset ‘please do come,’ which gives a circle of three.)
___________________

Ken G – October 8, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 9:25 pm

Gentlemen, And then, one could argue that a ‘phrase’ is not a sentence and therefore doesn’t ‘require’ a verb (loosening things up quite a bit), so that, for example, the phrase “"faster, better, cheaper," which characterized former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin's guiding philosophy, could be considered a ‘circular phrase’ – “can be read beginning at any word within the PHRASE and still mean something!” But, of course, this is the coward’s way out and real men (and women) don’t look for such cheap, but technically correct, answers – do they? (<:)
____________________

Ken G – October 8, 2004


Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 9:39 pm

If we can uses phrases (thanks to Ken), here's another from GWB:
...hard for me to verify that I'll think...

For me to verify that I'll think? Hard!
Me to verify? That, I'll think hard for
To verify that, I'll think hard (for me)
Verify that I'll think? Hard for me to
That I'll think? hard for me to verify
I'll think hard for me to verify that
Think? Hard for me to verify that I'll...
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 9:53 pm

Some of the examples above sound awful pretty. :)
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 10:08 pm

Edwin, You talk in circles! (<;)

Ken – October 9, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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circular or endless phrase

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 04, 2002 10:22 pm

When I'm tired, I sometimes resort to ellipses.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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