cowhead cowhead at ztv.ne.jp
Fri May 24 08:40:00 EDT 2002

Dar Scott writes:
Here is one way to remember which one to use...

Either "on" or "onto" can be used to show movement to a location in
English.  Though "on" is most common, it can be ambiguous and
"onto" is clearer.  The programming language uses the clearer
It may be clearer for a real, English-speaking and thinking human,
but no clearer to the metacard engine!  The easiest syntax is thus
always going to be the most frequent.  A quick collocation analysis
confirms my suspicions:  whereas "on" is number 4 in the 'place' collate
list,  with a whopping T-score of over 11, 'onto' didn't show up at all
in the top 100, and 'place' is also not in the top 100 as a collate for
'onto'.  So 'place X on' is not just a little more common then 'place X
onto..' , it appears to be vastly more common.  And since there is no
need to worry about ambiguity when you are talking to a software engine
with a very limited vocabulary,  if the writers of X-talk were striving
for the most natural syntax (and I assume they were, since that is the
whole point of a higher-level language) 'onTO' was clearly a mistake.
I'm sorry, was I raving? :-)

mark mitchell

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