Posted by ESC on February 25, 2004
In Reply to: 'the last word' posted by Henry on February 25, 2004
: : : : : : : Having the last word in the US suggests that the speaker has completed the discussion with a comment of such exceptional merit that no further dialog is necessary.
: : : : : : : Reviewing the PF threads is interesting and illuminating. Many threads go on and on, with more perspectives, and some humor, and then sort of run out of steam. Some questions are answered quickly by one of our experts so conclusively that no more discussion is needed. It is a fascinating sociological project for some scholar -- to take the longest threads here and do an analysis of what provides the energy to keep a long thread going -- and what is the thing about the last comment that brings it to an end.
: : : : : : : Leave it to a scientist to think about stuff like this!
: : : : : : "Having the last word in the US suggests that the speaker has completed the discussion with a comment of such exceptional merit that no further dialog is necessary."
: : : : : : The phrase has another meaning in US use, too. Someone who "always has to have the last word" is argumentative, perhaps hostile. Often, such a person's comment has no merit; it's merely a parting shot.
: : : : : I too find it most curious as to what keeps a thread going and what clips it. Is it time of day or day of the week? Does quality of responses have anything to do with it? Can one keep a thread in the growth phase of that sigmoid curve we all studied in second year university [something]. On forums such as this new threads force active threads forever slipping downward but the same curious happenings can be observed at wordorigins or gardenweb. I must stop now. Someone did determine that on forums the average person doesn't read beyond 72 words.
: : : : Any time the subject is race or religion, the thread goes on and on.
: : : I must have missed that lecture in my 2nd year: always felt there was something missing in my life.
: : :::As a decidedly unscientific study, it appears that the 'last word' on English construction, meaning and history is most often supplied by ESC, SmokeyStover, James Briggs, R. Berg, Bob, and Bruce Kahl. I apologise if I've left anyone out. Later postings in threads tend to be thank you's and other supportive thoughts. ESC is right about the energy in threads discussing race or religion; and sex seems to be popular in sustaining a thread -- although the serious language analysis content is normally not present.
: Just wanted to have the last word!