Discussion:
Referring to a person in the past by their current status
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Lewis
2017-10-06 13:42:39 UTC
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Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?

I had a conversation the other day which went something like this:

Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.

I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.

At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?

But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.

It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"

What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
--
The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-06 14:13:25 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
Her reaction seems weird. In our culture, you normally meet your wife
long before you get married, so "when I met my wife" normally means
"when I met the woman or girl who became my wife".
Post by Lewis
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?
But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.
It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"
What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
In speech, I think people often do insert comments like "before they
were my in-laws". Your example would work nicely with "back when I was
in high school, before they were my in-laws." In writing, you can plan
things like "I remember giving that book to the family of my girlfriend
(who's now my wife)."

Next: The time you met Bruce Jenner, and what she said.
--
Jerry Friedman
Stefan Ram
2017-10-06 14:22:10 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Your sentence is comprehensible, it just needs a little
mental work on the side of the listener [see next paragraph].
»Her« is either not willing or not capable to go that way.

Utterances are usually ambiguous. The listener usually
is supposed to pick the interpretation that makes most
sense in the given context.
b***@aol.com
2017-10-06 14:24:33 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?
But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.
It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"
What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
Post by Lewis
--
The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.
b***@aol.com
2017-10-06 14:45:40 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?
But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.
It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"
What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
Addendum: And to dispel the ambiguity over the period "future" refers
to, you could add "then-": "my then-future wife", etc.
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
--
The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-10-06 15:11:26 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?
But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.
It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"
What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
Even that is potentially ambiguous. Is the future relative to the time
you met her, or is it relative to the time you are making the statement?

The future then or the future now?

In:
When I met my future wife in 8th grade

"my future wife" could mean the woman you did marry or the woman you are
planning to marry.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
b***@aol.com
2017-10-06 17:05:01 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones. But what if you are talking about
Mrs Jones when she was 20 when she was still Miss Smith?
But if you say, as I did earlier today, "I remember giving my in-laws
that book back when I was in high school" there may be a reasonable
confusion as to whether I was married in high school, as some people
are.
It seems awkward to insert some aside like "my in-laws before they were
my in-laws"
What I normally do is use the present state for the past unless it's
germane, or unless someone questions something. Does anyone have any
ways they avoid these temporal confusions?
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
Even that is potentially ambiguous. Is the future relative to the time
you met her, or is it relative to the time you are making the statement?
The future then or the future now?
When I met my future wife in 8th grade
"my future wife" could mean the woman you did marry or the woman you are
planning to marry.
I know, hence my Addendum.
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter Moylan
2017-10-07 01:13:50 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Post by b***@aol.com
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
Even that is potentially ambiguous. Is the future relative to the time
you met her, or is it relative to the time you are making the statement?
The only time it could be ambiguous is when there's a possibility that
you could marry in the near future. (We rarely know who we're going to
marry in the distant future.) Most of the time, the circumstances are
such that the listener can rule out that possibility.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Tony Cooper
2017-10-06 15:13:48 UTC
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Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Lanarcam
2017-10-06 15:18:33 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
He met his then future wife.

What do you say to that?
Quinn C
2017-10-06 16:06:59 UTC
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Post by Lanarcam
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
He met his then future wife.
What do you say to that?
And how about "his then future ex-wife"?
--
Who would know aught of art must learn and then take his ease.
Tony Cooper
2017-10-06 18:44:31 UTC
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Post by Lanarcam
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
He met his then future wife.
What do you say to that?
Not how I'd express it. I have referred to my "now-wife" in this
group, and assume it's acceptable. "I met my now-wife at a party in
Chicago in 1962."
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Quinn C
2017-10-06 16:06:04 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
Now you introduced new ambiguity over "grade school". These days,
it doesn't usually comprise grade 8.

Plus it may not be understood at all by non-Americans. If I'd
heard it spoken before I learned the term in aue, I may have taken
it for a sloppy pronunciation of "graduate school".
--
... their average size remains so much smaller; so that the sum
total of food converted into thought by women can never equal
[that of] men. It follows therefore, that men will always think
more than women. -- M.A. Hardaker in Popular Science (1881)
Tony Cooper
2017-10-06 18:47:27 UTC
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On Fri, 6 Oct 2017 12:06:04 -0400, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
Now you introduced new ambiguity over "grade school". These days,
it doesn't usually comprise grade 8.
Plus it may not be understood at all by non-Americans. If I'd
heard it spoken before I learned the term in aue, I may have taken
it for a sloppy pronunciation of "graduate school".
No, there's no ambiguity. It's a snatch of conversation between two
people. Those two would be on the same wave length.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Quinn C
2017-10-10 13:15:51 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
On Fri, 6 Oct 2017 12:06:04 -0400, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
Now you introduced new ambiguity over "grade school". These days,
it doesn't usually comprise grade 8.
Plus it may not be understood at all by non-Americans. If I'd
heard it spoken before I learned the term in aue, I may have taken
it for a sloppy pronunciation of "graduate school".
No, there's no ambiguity. It's a snatch of conversation between two
people. Those two would be on the same wave length.
If they were, the original misunderstanding shouldn't have
happened.
--
The only BS around here is butternut squash, one of the dozens of
varieties of squash I grow. I hope you like squash.
-- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, S01E10
Lewis
2017-10-06 21:51:10 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
It's often possible simply to add the adjective "future". It works with
"my future wife" and "my future in-laws", and perhaps also with "the
future Mrs Jones"?
If he had said "I met my future wife when I was in grade school", the
"Her" in that example would reply "You've known her that long and
still haven't married her?".
Probably.

(It's also possible I didn't say 'met'. It might have been "when my wife
and I were in 8th grade" or something.)
--
Penny! *Everything* is better with BlueTooth
Quinn C
2017-10-11 16:49:26 UTC
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Post by Lewis
(It's also possible I didn't say 'met'. It might have been "when my wife
and I were in 8th grade" or something.)
That would be far more misleading than the version with "met".
--
In the old days, the complaints about the passing of the
golden age were much more sophisticated.
-- James Hogg in alt.usage.english
Paul Carmichael
2017-10-06 15:00:35 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Isn't this normally dealt with thus:

"When I met my now wife". or somesuch?
--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Lewis
2017-10-06 21:55:02 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
"When I met my now wife". or somesuch?
that might be better than future wife, but there's a certain feeling
with now that the state is transitory, no?

It's not quite as bad as introducing your wife to people as your first
wife, but it's in the same ballpark.

(My wife and I actually do refer to the other as "my first /spouse/
on occasions because we find it amusing, as do most other people.)
--
'They come back to the mountains to die,' said the King. 'They live in
Ankh-Morpork.' --The Fifth Elephant
Peter Moylan
2017-10-07 01:21:21 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Carmichael
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
"When I met my now wife". or somesuch?
that might be better than future wife, but there's a certain feeling
with now that the state is transitory, no?
I agree. "My now wife" sounds as though it means "my future ex-wife".
Post by Lewis
It's not quite as bad as introducing your wife to people as your first
wife, but it's in the same ballpark.
(My wife and I actually do refer to the other as "my first /spouse/
on occasions because we find it amusing, as do most other people.)
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Paul Carmichael
2017-10-07 11:38:02 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Carmichael
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
"When I met my now wife". or somesuch?
that might be better than future wife, but there's a certain feeling
with now that the state is transitory, no?
I agree. "My now wife" sounds as though it means "my future ex-wife".
I'm not promoting it, just saying that I've heard it many times.
--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Quinn C
2017-10-06 16:10:44 UTC
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Post by Lewis
At an extremely example, if I say "When Mrs. Jones was a little girl..."
there doesn't seem to be any issue of misunderstanding. Not only do you
know that Mrs Jones wasn't a Mrs when she was a little girl, you're
pretty certain she wasn't even Jones.
Well, that'll depend on jurisdiction.

People are sometimes incredulous here in Quebec when I give my
wife's family name as the same as mine. I understand that this is
unusual at my age for the locals, but in this time and day, who
has that little contact to non-locals? Like, maybe, people from
the US; that wouldn't be too exotic.
--
The bee must not pass judgment on the hive. (Voxish proverb)
-- Robert C. Wilson, Vortex (novel), p.125
Don Phillipson
2017-10-06 16:26:54 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
No global rule of the English language mandates how to refer to such
a person. (Hardly any rules mandate how to refer to anyone.)

Local social convention (e.g. among members of a monastery or
remote community, e.g. the Falkland Islands) might well maintain
such a rule: but scholars would classify it as a social rule, not
part of the English language of which we all share ownership.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Neill Massello
2017-10-06 16:37:08 UTC
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Post by Lewis
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
The world is succumbing to autism.
John Dunlop
2017-10-07 07:22:24 UTC
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Post by Neill Massello
Post by Lewis
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
The world is succumbing to autism.
That term seems to be used at the drop of a hat these days.

I'll take Lewis's word that she seemed genuinely confused, but I can
imagine myself in a similar position, feigning ignorance for the sake of
a silly joke. And I can well imagine my interlocutor failing to spot the
humour.
--
John
Neill Massello
2017-10-07 12:47:48 UTC
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Post by John Dunlop
That term seems to be used at the drop of a hat these days.
There's a spectrum. It starts with Usenet . . .
Peter Moylan
2017-10-08 06:57:41 UTC
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Post by Neill Massello
Post by John Dunlop
That term seems to be used at the drop of a hat these days.
There's a spectrum. It starts with Usenet . . .
... and extends through Google Groups, Facebook, etc., and eventually
all the way to Twitter.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
GordonD
2017-10-06 17:29:35 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
The other possibility is that your wife was so bad at her school lessons
that she was still in eighth grade by the time she was an adult.

I'm sure that isn't the case!
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Mark Brader
2017-10-06 20:45:23 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Post by Lewis
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
...
Her: ... How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
The other possibility is that your wife was so bad at her school lessons
that she was still in eighth grade by the time she was an adult.
Just the other day there was a somewhat similar exchange on "Jeopardy!"
when Alex Trebek was doing the little interview with one of the
contestants. She had met her husband when they were in Grade 9
(oh, all right, "9th grade") and Trebek made a (very) small joke by
pretending she'd meant he was an adult at the time.
--
Mark Brader | "How is freedom gained? It is taken: never given.
Toronto | To be free, you must first assume your right
***@vex.net | to freedom." -- Salman Rushdie

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Dingbat
2017-10-07 02:26:44 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
You could ask, "How old was your father when he met your mother?" and upon
getting an answer, ask "Was he your father before he met your mother?"

That is, you'd probably find that refers to her father as her father before
he was her father.
GordonD
2017-10-07 10:16:02 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past
when you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade--- Her: You met your wife in
8th grade? Me: Yes, when I--- Her: I don't think that's legal. Me
(nonplussed): What? Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were
you? Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her. Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
You could ask, "How old was your father when he met your mother?" and
upon getting an answer, ask "Was he your father before he met your
mother?"
That is, you'd probably find that refers to her father as her father
before he was her father.
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Dingbat
2017-10-07 10:57:13 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Post by Dingbat
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past
when you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade--- Her: You met your wife in
8th grade? Me: Yes, when I--- Her: I don't think that's legal. Me
(nonplussed): What? Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were
you? Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her. Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
You could ask, "How old was your father when he met your mother?" and
upon getting an answer, ask "Was he your father before he met your
mother?"
That is, you'd probably find that refers to her father as her father
before he was her father.
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
--
Your mother's maiden name belongs to your mother, not to you. If she still
has a name she calls her maiden name, you should be able to answer the
security question.
GordonD
2017-10-07 17:07:07 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by GordonD
Post by Dingbat
Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past
when you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade--- Her: You met your wife in
8th grade? Me: Yes, when I--- Her: I don't think that's legal. Me
(nonplussed): What? Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were
you? Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her. Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
You could ask, "How old was your father when he met your mother?" and
upon getting an answer, ask "Was he your father before he met your
mother?"
That is, you'd probably find that refers to her father as her father
before he was her father.
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
--
Your mother's maiden name belongs to your mother, not to you. If she still
has a name she calls her maiden name, you should be able to answer the
security question.
I wasn't claiming this was actually the case, merely pointing out
another anomaly.
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Peter Moylan
2017-10-08 07:14:00 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.

Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.

Microsoft's password recovery requires you to name three Microsoft
products you have purchased. This morning my wife was locked out of her
computer because Windows 10 had for some reason decided that her current
password was invalid. Fixing the problem was a pain because she has
never bought any Microsoft product [1]. To handle that case, the
recovery web page gives a link to the Microsoft shop. It's tempting to
ask a lawyer whether this could be prosecuted as a case of extortion.

[1] Actually she has, but Microsoft has no record of it because Windows
10 is bundled in as the Windows tax on any PC you buy these days.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Mark Brader
2017-10-08 09:37:29 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example)...
I had a nice one of those a few years ago. It might have been in 2011
when I was reporting a credit card lost or stolen; around then, anyway.
They asked for the name of my employer. After satisfying them as to my
identity in some other way, I asked what answer they'd expected. It was
the employer I'd had *when I'd obtained the card in 1977*.
--
Mark Brader | "I don't want to say they're unsafe,
Toronto | but they're dangerous."
***@vex.net | --former US transportation sec'y Ray Lahood

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Cheryl
2017-10-08 10:23:11 UTC
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Post by Mark Brader
Post by Peter Moylan
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example)...
I had a nice one of those a few years ago. It might have been in 2011
when I was reporting a credit card lost or stolen; around then, anyway.
They asked for the name of my employer. After satisfying them as to my
identity in some other way, I asked what answer they'd expected. It was
the employer I'd had *when I'd obtained the card in 1977*.
The power company that I had an account with for a dozen years or more
is giving back a rebate to customers (including former customers), and
when I applied, they asked me who my employer was. I could make a pretty
good guess as to the one I'd had when I'd moved into that address, but
had no idea whether I'd notified them of the employers I'd had over the
time I lived at that address, so I didn't know which one they had on
record. I gave them a couple, but they couldn't find my account.
Eventually, I tracked down a confirmation email they sent me when I
closed the account, which contained the account number. They still
wanted my middle name and my birth date, which are surely far more
easily-obtained (and remembered!) bit of information than my former
employers by date.
--
Cheryl

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GordonD
2017-10-08 09:46:27 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.

(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-10-08 10:04:38 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
One of the questions my bank suggested was "Where did your parents
meet?", to which I gave the answer as Valetta. The problem, however, is
that I don't always remember how to spell Valetta (Valletta? Valeta?
...). Looking it up may not help, because what they want is the
spelling used when I set up the account.
--
athel
Cheryl
2017-10-08 10:25:48 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
One of the questions my bank suggested was "Where did your parents
meet?", to which I gave the answer as Valetta. The problem, however, is
that I don't always remember how to spell Valetta (Valletta? Valeta?
...). Looking it up may not help, because what they want is the spelling
used when I set up the account.
I sometimes use a bank service to email small sums of money to friends
or relatives. I have to supply a question to which the recipient will
know the answer. Last time, I used the name of the street the recipient
lived on - and mis-spelled it! Fortunately, I could re-send after a
failed delivery and then corrected the spelling.
--
Cheryl

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Peter Moylan
2017-10-08 10:38:51 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-10-08 11:15:30 UTC
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
That's why you should write them down in an easily found place!
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Cheryl
2017-10-08 11:25:08 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
That's why you should write them down in an easily found place!
I believe a scrap of paper stuck to the monitor or in the computer desk
drawer is a popular option.
--
Cheryl

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Ken Blake
2017-10-08 16:35:38 UTC
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On Sun, 08 Oct 2017 12:15:30 +0100, "Peter Duncanson [BrE]"
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
That's why you should write them down in an easily found place!
Yes, and do the same with all your passwords, so nobody but a burglar
will know what they are! <vbg>
Tony Cooper
2017-10-08 13:39:44 UTC
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do. I use a word in the question. "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Peter Moylan
2017-10-09 01:31:55 UTC
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Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do. I use a word in the question. "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
RH Draney
2017-10-09 07:47:03 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
  too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do.  I use a word in the question.  "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
Anyone ever had them ask for the name of your first pet, then tell you
that your answer is invalid because it isn't long enough to qualify as a
password?...r
Dingbat
2017-10-09 07:55:23 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as
she wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are
 far too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't
remember the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first
pet, and so on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do.  I use a word in the question.  "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
Anyone ever had them ask for the name of your first pet, then tell you
that your answer is invalid because it isn't long enough to qualify as a
password?...r
COMMODORE isn't short. My father's PET was made by Commodore:-)
Ken Blake
2017-10-09 18:43:56 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
  too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do.  I use a word in the question.  "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
Anyone ever had them ask for the name of your first pet, then tell you
that your answer is invalid because it isn't long enough to qualify as a
password?...
...and doesn't have any numbers in it?
Tony Cooper
2017-10-09 20:10:35 UTC
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Post by Ken Blake
Post by RH Draney
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
  too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do.  I use a word in the question.  "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
Anyone ever had them ask for the name of your first pet, then tell you
that your answer is invalid because it isn't long enough to qualify as a
password?...
...and doesn't have any numbers in it?
The security questions are not the same as passwords. I've never seen
a security question that imposed a requirement of length or the
inclusion of numbers. Not that I've seen all security questions, but
I've seen enough to know what to expect.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Lewis
2017-10-10 00:23:41 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by Ken Blake
Post by RH Draney
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
  too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I do.  I use a word in the question.  "Teacher" or "Pet" in the above.
Good thinking, 99. I might adopt that trick.
Anyone ever had them ask for the name of your first pet, then tell you
that your answer is invalid because it isn't long enough to qualify as a
password?...
...and doesn't have any numbers in it?
The security questions are not the same as passwords. I've never seen
a security question that imposed a requirement of length or the
inclusion of numbers. Not that I've seen all security questions, but
I've seen enough to know what to expect.
I've seen security questions that required a minimum length on the
answer.
--
Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze? Cold comfort for change?
Mack A. Damia
2017-10-08 15:24:12 UTC
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 21:38:51 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
Five years from now, will you remember which fake answers you chose?
I had to purchase cell phone time. I only bought it in July and
bought a three month card then. I set up an account on line but did
not use it until yesterday.

Incidentally, I can only use the phone when I am in the U.S.

Anyway, I called yesterday and spent two hours on chat and on the
phone trying to buy time because the web site wouldn't process my
transaction. Finally, the guy wanted to know the four digit number I
had supplied for security purposes, and I drew a blank. I got angry -
but then I realized that if I did give them a four digit code when I
set up the account it had to be a certain number that I can easily
recall.

I gave it, and it worked.

Saved by mum's birthday.
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-09 14:24:20 UTC
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Post by GordonD
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question,
"Mother's maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she
wasn't my mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
 too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember
the name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so
on.
But since you're supplying those answers in the first place, when
setting up the account, it doesn't matter if it's correct as long as you
give the same answer when asked.
(Miss Watt and Bobby the budgie, BTW.)
We had a budgie named Bobby (or Bobbie), because the book said they were
best at pronouncing words with "b" and "p", and because we didn't know
Bobby or Bobbie's sex. He or she never learned to say anything in any
human language, though.
--
Jerry Friedman
Cheryl
2017-10-08 10:16:54 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.
Microsoft's password recovery requires you to name three Microsoft
products you have purchased. This morning my wife was locked out of her
computer because Windows 10 had for some reason decided that her current
password was invalid. Fixing the problem was a pain because she has
never bought any Microsoft product [1]. To handle that case, the
recovery web page gives a link to the Microsoft shop. It's tempting to
ask a lawyer whether this could be prosecuted as a case of extortion.
[1] Actually she has, but Microsoft has no record of it because Windows
10 is bundled in as the Windows tax on any PC you buy these days.
I gave up on the practice of giving fake answers to security questions
because I couldn't remember which fake answers I'd given to which
programs. I thought varying them would improve security.
--
Cheryl

---
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus
Peter T. Daniels
2017-10-08 12:51:54 UTC
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Post by Cheryl
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.
Microsoft's password recovery requires you to name three Microsoft
products you have purchased. This morning my wife was locked out of her
computer because Windows 10 had for some reason decided that her current
password was invalid. Fixing the problem was a pain because she has
never bought any Microsoft product [1]. To handle that case, the
recovery web page gives a link to the Microsoft shop. It's tempting to
ask a lawyer whether this could be prosecuted as a case of extortion.
[1] Actually she has, but Microsoft has no record of it because Windows
10 is bundled in as the Windows tax on any PC you buy these days.
I gave up on the practice of giving fake answers to security questions
because I couldn't remember which fake answers I'd given to which
programs. I thought varying them would improve security.
I don't think I'm experiencing deja vu -- Tony Cooper, feel free to type in all
the accented letters your little heart desires -- but wasn't exactly the same
sequence of anecdotes posted here a year or so ago?
Tony Cooper
2017-10-08 13:36:36 UTC
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On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 18:14:00 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.
I don't understand the problem with this. Those security questions
require only that you provide the answer today that you provided when
you set up the app. It doesn't have to be the right answer or even a
word related to the right answer. Any word can be used when you set
up the account.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Peter T. Daniels
2017-10-08 14:17:07 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 18:14:00 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.
I don't understand the problem with this. Those security questions
require only that you provide the answer today that you provided when
you set up the app. It doesn't have to be the right answer or even a
word related to the right answer. Any word can be used when you set
up the account.
But it has to be the _exact_ answer. Social Security wants to stop sending
annual paper summaries but have me access the information on line. In order
to recover my password (since it claimed, the first time I tried it, that I
had typed something wrong three times) it showed the security questions, the
first of which was "Where were you when you heard of the Kennedy assassination?"
I typed a true answer but obviously it wasn't in the same words as I used some
three years ago.
grabber
2017-10-08 18:39:53 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
On Sun, 8 Oct 2017 18:14:00 +1100, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
Then there are the questions whose answers vary with time (one's
address, for example). It can often be difficult to pin down the date
when I gave the answer.
I don't understand the problem with this.
The problem is that if there isn't an unambiguously correct (or at least
"best") answer to the question when you first see it, then there is no
guarantee that you'll answer it the same way when you see the question
again, which defeats the point. One solution is to offer a wide choice
of questions. Letting the user choose a question has been done, but I
don't remember seeing this option recently. Perhaps they don't trust
people not to come up with a brilliant idea like choosing "what is 2+2?"
as their security question.

I expect someone's name has been attached to the principle of
cybersecurity which says that the more rigour the designers try to put
into layers of security, the harder the users will find it to cope, and
the more we will resort to tactics like using the same password for all
sites, and then writing that password on a post-it note stuck to the
monitor.
Post by Tony Cooper
Those security questions
require only that you provide the answer today that you provided when
you set up the app. It doesn't have to be the right answer or even a
word related to the right answer. Any word can be used when you set
up the account.
Lewis
2017-10-08 15:25:08 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
I always go with whatever security questions are the default. Since I
treat them all as additional password fields, I don't even pay attention
to what they are asking.

What was the name of the street I lived on in 3rd grade?

92W+NII7{/AA-6R

What was the make and model of my first car?

0>?NPm4oM2n/E72Sa
--
C is for CLARA who wasted away
D is for DESMOND thrown out of a sleigh
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-09 14:27:23 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
I always go with whatever security questions are the default. Since I
treat them all as additional password fields, I don't even pay attention
to what they are asking.
What was the name of the street I lived on in 3rd grade?
92W+NII7{/AA-6R
What was the make and model of my first car?
0>?NPm4oM2n/E72Sa
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
--
Jerry Friedman
Lewis
2017-10-09 17:03:24 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Lewis
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
I always go with whatever security questions are the default. Since I
treat them all as additional password fields, I don't even pay attention
to what they are asking.
What was the name of the street I lived on in 3rd grade?
92W+NII7{/AA-6R
What was the make and model of my first car?
0>?NPm4oM2n/E72Sa
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.

There are a handful of passwords that I have to remember:

1) My login password to my computer account
2) My 1Password password
3) My iCloud password

These are three different passwords.

All my other passwords and security question answers are randomly
generated.

Well, OK, not all. I have a default 'throw-away' password for apps that
want a login, but that I don't link to any other information and that I
use a custom email address for.

So, for example I download an iOS game from developer Acme, Inc. and it
wants me to create an account, so I create an account with

username: trash+***@mydomain.tld
password Willy1066

(Not Willy1066, but an equally terrible password that I use as a default
throw-away, and ***@mydomain.tld is an account that exists only to
collect the garbage mail or required verifications for these throw
away accounts.)

Anything that is linked to my actual information, real accounts,
financial info, etc has long passwords that are randomly generated.
--
I hear hurricanes a-blowing, I know the end is coming soon. I fear
rivers over-flowing. I hear the voice of rage and ruin.
David Kleinecke
2017-10-09 17:19:57 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Lewis
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by GordonD
Which would make it difficult to answer the security question, "Mother's
maiden name" - my mother didn't have a maiden name as she wasn't my
mother back then.
At least that's a question for which I know the answer. There are far
too many security questions that are badly chosen. I don't remember the
name of my second grade teacher, the name of my first pet, and so on.
I always go with whatever security questions are the default. Since I
treat them all as additional password fields, I don't even pay attention
to what they are asking.
What was the name of the street I lived on in 3rd grade?
92W+NII7{/AA-6R
What was the make and model of my first car?
0>?NPm4oM2n/E72Sa
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
1) My login password to my computer account
2) My 1Password password
3) My iCloud password
These are three different passwords.
All my other passwords and security question answers are randomly
generated.
Well, OK, not all. I have a default 'throw-away' password for apps that
want a login, but that I don't link to any other information and that I
use a custom email address for.
So, for example I download an iOS game from developer Acme, Inc. and it
wants me to create an account, so I create an account with
password Willy1066
(Not Willy1066, but an equally terrible password that I use as a default
collect the garbage mail or required verifications for these throw
away accounts.)
Anything that is linked to my actual information, real accounts,
financial info, etc has long passwords that are randomly generated.
I keep my passwords on separate three-by-five cards. But I
have a default password I use everywhere the password is just
an irritation and not a valid security check. I have had all
together too many instances of companies failing to recognize
my established password to have any respect for them.
Ken Blake
2017-10-09 18:50:45 UTC
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On Mon, 9 Oct 2017 10:19:57 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
I don't know 1Password, but I remember trying LastPass. I thought it
was OK, but I uninstalled it in favor of Enpass, which I now use and
like much more.
Richard Yates
2017-10-09 21:30:19 UTC
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Post by Ken Blake
On Mon, 9 Oct 2017 10:19:57 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
I don't know 1Password, but I remember trying LastPass. I thought it
was OK, but I uninstalled it in favor of Enpass, which I now use and
like much more.
As a user of LastPass but occasionally irritated when it is not as
smart as I wish, I am curious what you like about Enpass.
Ken Blake
2017-10-10 00:26:49 UTC
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On Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:30:19 -0700, Richard Yates
Post by Richard Yates
Post by Ken Blake
On Mon, 9 Oct 2017 10:19:57 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
I don't know 1Password, but I remember trying LastPass. I thought it
was OK, but I uninstalled it in favor of Enpass, which I now use and
like much more.
As a user of LastPass but occasionally irritated when it is not as
smart as I wish, I am curious what you like about Enpass.
It's been too long since I tried LastPass and compared the two, so I
cant give you a good answer to your question. But I suggest that you
give Enpass a try, and decide for yourself which you prefer.
Lewis
2017-10-10 00:21:30 UTC
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Post by Ken Blake
On Mon, 9 Oct 2017 10:19:57 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
I don't know 1Password, but I remember trying LastPass. I thought it
was OK, but I uninstalled it in favor of Enpass, which I now use and
like much more.
Enpass has not been audited for security, so it's a non-starter.
--
My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can
feel it. I can feel it. I'm... afraid.
Quinn C
2017-10-11 01:43:55 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Post by Ken Blake
On Mon, 9 Oct 2017 10:19:57 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
Post by Lewis
Post by Jerry Friedman
Then how do you remember the passwords? Stored in the computer that no
one can turn without the password that you do memorize?
I use a program called 1Password. There is also LastPass, but I don't
trust their new owners (LogMeIn), so I won't used LastPass.
I don't know 1Password, but I remember trying LastPass. I thought it
was OK, but I uninstalled it in favor of Enpass, which I now use and
like much more.
Enpass has not been audited for security, so it's a non-starter.
PasswordSafe here. It doesn't interact with the browser, so the
attack surface isn't that large (main concern is the clipboard.)

I synchronize the contents across devices with Bittorrent Sync, so
no cloud involved. Given that the content to sync is an encrypted
file to start with, the worry isn't big there, either.
--
In the old days, the complaints about the passing of the
golden age were much more sophisticated.
-- James Hogg in alt.usage.english
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-09 13:26:12 UTC
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Post by Lewis
Is there a general rule about how to refer to a person in the past when
you know them by their present state?
Me: When I met my wife in 8th grade---
Her: You met your wife in 8th grade?
Me: Yes, when I---
Her: I don't think that's legal.
Me (nonplussed): What?
Her: Being married in 8th grade. How old were you?
Me: She wasn't my wife when I met her.
Her: Oh.
I didn't get the sense that she was joking as she seemed genuinely
confused by what I'd said.
...

The other end of the spectrum:

"A former area charter school employee is out of a job, after filing a
sexual discrimination complaint against the school’s chancellor and a
grievance with the assistant principal about her workload."

<http://www.riograndesun.com/news/cari-os-teacher-files-complaint-then-gets-fired/article_ff4820c4-a9e5-11e7-94aa-8b705e3c4a6b.html>

I'd have said "An area charter school employee lost her job" to avoid
any possible reason to put "former" and "out of a job" together. As it
is, it gives you the garden path of thinking she once worked at a
charter school and has now lost another job.

Actually, I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the
area our paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in
other countries?

(The article is just as gripping, if I may use the term, as most of our
local news. I'm not sure how long the link will stay good--maybe only
two or three more days.)
--
Jerry Friedman
Don Phillipson
2017-10-09 23:00:44 UTC
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. . . I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the area our
paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in other
countries?
Endemic in Canada, alas, and occasionally quasi-official:
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is now common when talking
about commercial territories, public transport etc. (Why
Torontonians talk about "Greater Toronto" is a different topic.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Peter T. Daniels
2017-10-10 03:09:25 UTC
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Post by Don Phillipson
. . . I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the area our
paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in other
countries?
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is now common when talking
about commercial territories, public transport etc. (Why
Torontonians talk about "Greater Toronto" is a different topic.)
Very frequently in *The Onion*, stories about oddities identify the odd as
"area man." Apparently it is a cliché.
Dingbat
2017-10-10 22:25:06 UTC
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Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Don Phillipson
. . . I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the area our
paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in other
countries?
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is now common when talking
about commercial territories, public transport etc. (Why
Torontonians talk about "Greater Toronto" is a different topic.)
Very frequently in *The Onion*, stories about oddities identify the odd as
"area man." Apparently it is a cliché.
What is a man from out of the area called?
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-11 01:30:00 UTC
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Post by Dingbat
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Don Phillipson
. . . I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the area our
paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in other
countries?
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is now common when talking
about commercial territories, public transport etc. (Why
Torontonians talk about "Greater Toronto" is a different topic.)
Very frequently in *The Onion*, stories about oddities identify the odd as
"area man." Apparently it is a cliché.
What is a man from out of the area called?
"Tourist".
--
Jerry Friedman
Mark Brader
2017-10-11 10:53:25 UTC
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. . . I'd try to avoid using "area" attributively to mean "in the area our
paper covers". Does this local-journalism cliché show up in other
countries?
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is now common...
That's not attributive. Jerry's talking about usages like "area residents",
meaning "residents of this area". I don't see this very much.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | "The brain is amazing when it's amazing, with
***@vex.net | apologies to Robert Biddle." --Steve Summit

My text in this article is in the public domain.
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