Thursday, November 24, 2005

Time flies...

During a break this week I wrote the following line on the whiteboard and invited the audience members to interpret it in such a way that it is both correct English and is not nonsensical.

"Time flies. I can't. They move too fast."

I first discovered this line when I was about 10 in a puzzle book and thought it was fantastic. It is great to see people's reactions (including native English speakers) as they try to devise an interpretation that makes sense.



Oh... and before I forget... to my IBM readers: I had the privilege of sharing several dinners and breakfasts with Richard Whyte on this trip. He is an utter genius..... his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience makes him an astonishing asset for the company. He's one of the few people I've met recently who is both technically brilliant and proud of it. More of this please!

7 comments:

andyp said...

Frankly, you are both geniuses. I could have told you Richard is a hero, but far better for you to find out for yourself.

James Governor said...

that is great. it took a few seconds to see the flies from the time. you need to turn the abstract/concrete on its head. i can see why it appealed to your ten year old mind, and still does.

James Governor said...

also - what is richard a genius on? subjects? verbs? objects? insights? links to bios - and IBM has a LOT of inspiring people. some of them are even polite enough to respond to comments and so on...

Richard Brown said...
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Richard Brown said...

Andy - flattery will get you everywhere :-p

James - one would almost think you thought my ten-year old mind was somehow unusual... but I'll let it pass...

As for Richard Whyte.... I'm trying to persuade him to start blogging. It's probably not appropriate for me to discuss him further without his knowledge but I'd dearly love to... his experience and perspective is inspiring. I'll work on him again...

Joerg Wende said...

mmmh - as a non-native speaker I have some difficulties to find a correct understanding.
Perhaps you might give me a hint ?

Richard Brown said...

Hi Joerg,

Here's a clue. Look at the first sentence and check whether you've considered every case. What is the subject of the sentence - the noun? What is the verb? Would it help if I told you it was in the imperative voice?