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Stephen Jones

Persist is an intransitive verb

<trivial rant>
It doesn't take an object. Something persists, or doesn't, but you don't persist anything. You can store it, you can save it.

Who decided to mangle this perfectly good word? Some words can break, like calling the smallest size "medium", or having 15 to 20 "initial" data loads (which we do at my current job, as SOP). What did "persist" ever do to that person?
</trivial rant>
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
 
 
yeah, you a programmer.
lemon shakespear obrien Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Oh no! Language change! To the barricades!!!
Larry Lard
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
So you can't cope with language being dynamic? That's okay, you are not the worst case I have encountered.

A blogger argued recently that there he believes there is no such thing as "talent" because he is an atheist. He referred to the original ancient Greek meaning of the word talent, a "divine ability". I wonder if he only uses English words according to the root words' original meanings in their original tongues.
Steve McLeod Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
> Persist is an intransitive verb

True, as in grammar rules don't persist forever.
Joe
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
I know things change, human languages change if they're alive, I just don't like this change, is all.

A critic, not a censor.
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
> A critic, not a censor.

When criticizing, propose an alternative.
Neologisms often come about because the alternatives appear awkward.
Joe
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Yeah, and a bug is an insect.

Like it or not, language is modal and domain-specific. I can have bugs in my code and I can persist variables. But only at work. When I'm out in the woods I use an insect repellent, not a debugger.
Paranoid Android Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Just use Python and you won't have to think about those issues.

:)
Victor Noagbodji
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
What transitive verb would you prefer? We need one to indicate that we are changing the state of an object from transient to persistent and we don't want to have to use that long phrase each time.
orangutan Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
'A blogger argued recently that there he believes there is no such thing as "talent" because he is an atheist. He referred to the original ancient Greek meaning of the word talent, a "divine ability".'

Is it God he doesn't believe in, or dictionaries? "talanton" in Greek was primarily either a balance or something that could be weighed in a balance: see http://artfl.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.71:2:110.lsj

Yes, I know about the parable...
US epsilon Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
"What transitive verb would you prefer?"

Save?
US epsilon Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
@Paranoid:
Just remember, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemiptera


Trivia aside, I sympathize with the OP and have several language-related pet peeves of my own.  This is the downside of English being the language of business: PHBs are now allowed to influence English.

Perhaps a "Workplace Language Gripes" thread would be in order.
Justice Walker
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
I think this shift happened because "persistent" objects don't actually have any persistence behavior (take a look at some of the older ORM frameworks based on code generation; persistence was encapsulated in the object).  That was moved into a magical AOP layer that "persists" the objects.
NPR Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
"When criticizing, propose an alternative."

I thought I did...save, store.
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Steve Hirsch: But google isn't a verb, it's a noun. But people tell you to "google it", don't they?

So I guess I'll be monitoring your posts in the future, making sure you use "world wide web" instead of "web", and "I suggest you do a search of the world wide web using the search engine located at google.com", and not "google it, you moron". <g>

Things change. All grammar does not have to apply in 100% of all cases. If you're pedantic enough to think it does, you have my sympathy, and enjoy the cave you'll need to crawl into in order to find your perfect world.
Ken White Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Do yourself a favor, Google (oops, I just verbed a noun) "language mavens". You'll be glad you did.
KT
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
To get *really* picky, I'll point out that int this usage, "persist" is actually a special kind of intransitive verb, called "ergative".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergative_verb

An ergative verb is one where the subject of the sentence implicitly takes the role of the direct object.

A good example of another ergative verb is the word "grow" (as in the "The seed grows").

(Although the farmer can "grow vegetables", that's a completely different verb sense, which calls for a transitive verb. By contrast, you'd never hear someone say that "the farmer grows the seeds".)

It's just my own observation, but it seems like ergative verbs are more likely to colloquially acquire a transitive case than other intransitive verbs. And when they do, people who are picky about language tend to *lose* *their* *minds*!

("30 tips on how to grow your company!")
BenjiSmith Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
shawty
Yo!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
@Benji: "(Although the farmer can "grow vegetables", that's a completely different verb sense, which calls for a transitive verb. By contrast, you'd never hear someone say that "the farmer grows the seeds".)"

To say that an object persists does not make persist ergative. The object is the agent of the persisting. A light shines: it is the agent of its own shining. It is not "shone" by the process, it enacts the process. If I persist a variable I may force it into the state of having been persisted, but whether or not I have done so the variable merely persists. There is changed associated with growing, but no change associated with persisting; indeed, persisting means resisting or avoiding change.

There are verbs that take a direct object and those that don't, but I balk at mentioning them. Can I balk those verbs? No. I can merely balk at mentioning them. A light shines, and I can shine that light on you to help you find your way. Hell, you might even beer me.

This feeling of annoyance may persist.
Paranoid Android Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Do you also freak out over the fact that "network" and "interface" are nouns?  I try really hard not to, but I usually fail.
Boofus McGoofus Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
As *jargon*, "persist" is a fine transitive verb.

I wouldn't use it that way in formal writing, however, anymore than I'd use "access" or "interface" as a verb, or use "utilize" at all.
Skorj
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Oh no Ken White, I'm all for language changes, because if they don't, the language is dead. There's just no poetry in persisting an object, is there?

Heck, I'm a stickler for using data as a singular noun, because the dictionary's wrong! (:=)
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
Heard today: "We're not ready to socialize those results yet"


*shrieeeeeekkkkk!!!*
David Aldridge Send private email
Thursday, June 05, 2008
 
 
> When criticizing, propose an alternative.

The alternative is always implied: it is called renunciation.
Knut
Friday, June 06, 2008
 
 
Oh, that horrible term is used here, too.

The real disaster is that most of the people who work here don't have English as a native language, so they pick up these Dilbertisms and think them normal...
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Friday, June 06, 2008
 
 
Steve--never underrate the atrocities committed by native speakers of English.
George Jansen Send private email
Friday, June 06, 2008
 
 
Oh, of course, it could only be a native Corporate American who could create such an atrocious new phrase.

The only exception was Saddam Hussein's "The Mother of all Wars". Now we have the Mother of all Car Sales...
Steve Hirsch Send private email
Friday, June 06, 2008
 
 

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