User talk:Coppertwig

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Thank you for your valuable work in expanding the BE850 list! - Tangotango 03:48, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

What an explosive beginning! Thanks. --Brett 02:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

X & Y[change]

Glad to see you're still about.

I've been using and when there are two obligatory entities which could be human, animal, or inanimate rather than something or someone and something else or someone else, which becomes very awkward. I don't think there's any relationship between somebody's English ability and their comfort with symbolic representation, but feel free to rework it if you've got a better solution.--Brett 18:50, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

You've got some good points, and there are likely times when simply using a phrase, rather than an explaining sentence would avoid this issue. That being said, my students have no trouble with the x/y type notation, and all express a strong preference for full sentence explanations. This is backed up with my experience marking their writing; when they have have the full-sentence explanation, they are able to use the word more naturally and are less apt to include dictionaryisms "I *brush one's teeth* before go to bed." As I said before, if you feel you can improve on my definitions, by all means, go for it.--Brett 12:12, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, names work when it's only people involved.

Generally speaking, children don't use dictionaries. If you look at the sales figures, there's little market for children's dictionaries, and what their is is bought mainly by schools, not by individuals. There is, however, a huge market for English language learners (ELLs) in their late teens and beyond. That's who the major dictionary publishers (Longman, Oxford, Collins, etc.) market their simple dictionaries at and I'm sure that will be the usership of this site.

My students are international students and immigrants to Canada who are ELLs and who plan to study at a Canadian college/polytechnique. They are mostly in their early 20s. --Brett 00:53, 21 December 2006 (UTC)


Just wanted to let you know that I left comments on Template talk:BE850 that you probably want to look at. If you don't add your opinion, I'll be disappointed. Thanks! Happy editing! --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 17:06, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Word Drive[change]

Thanks for your help. If you can scare up anybody else to take part, that would be great.--Brett 17:14, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Wow! What a day!--Brett 00:34, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

It was fun when we were both writing new pages at once, and changing each other's pages. --Coppertwig 20:00, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

New pages[change]

For a new page, you can leave the summary blank and it will automatically be created.

Regular verbs[change]

For regular verbs, you can save some typing by adding the line {{verb|regular=true}}. This will add all the regular endings. This works for verbs like pump or call. Keep it mind that it won't work for verbs like vary, because of the form varied, which would come out at varyed. --rimshottalk 13:24, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm not sure if I've used the wrong template for some irregular verbs -- I'll have to check. --Coppertwig 21:50, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I think I've checked and fixed the ones during the word drive, anyway. Brett fixed some of them. --Coppertwig 14:20, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Brit vs. US spellings[change]

All reconised spellings are equally welcome. Please don't be changing things from Brit to US or back the other way.--Brett 20:27, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

OK. I didn't know how it works here. --Coppertwig 20:34, 31 July 2007 (UTC)


Hello! Thanks for the welcome. :) --Isis 01:14, 2 August 2007 (UTC)


Thanks for the nice welcome. I'll try to create some more words as well as looking at some of yours! RaNdOm26 03:56, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Great! It's more fun that way -- when people help with other people's pages. --Coppertwig 11:12, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

2000 words?![change]

Did I create the article for the 2000th word? I wasn't keeping track. --Isis 14:45, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I think you did! I remember it said 1989 words around when I stopped editing at 12:47. More than 11 words have been added after that. Maybe when it said 1989 there were really more than that, so maybe a word before dependent was the 2000th word, but you added the two words before that anyway. I'm not sure, but I think Brett owes you a virtual beer! --Coppertwig 14:57, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I just finished things up, though. You and Brett did most of the work. :) BTW, all the 850 Basic English words exist now. :) --Isis 15:00, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. It was great to have you and other people helping. It's more fun when more people are working together. --Coppertwig 15:09, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Congratulations! And thanks!

(image deleted) --Brett 15:41, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

LOL! I passed it on to Isis, who wrote the 2000th word. I was happy to have someone else get that honour. (I don't drink alcohol, anyway.) I got a good laugh out of it, though! --Coppertwig 16:06, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

lol, thanks. :) But I didn't do much work, you and other users did. :) --Isis 16:12, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Woops! Thanks!--Brett 16:15, 2 August 2007 (UTC)


Hi Coppertwig. Of course I don't mind if you change the pages I've made. No one owns any pages here, we're all working on it together. If I ever dislike what you do to a page I've worked on, I'll either change it back (an edit war doesn't start until we both realize we're just switching things back and forth and keep doing it anyway) and/or write you here to talk about the issue. I agree with you that it is much more fun when we work on some of the same entries, helping each other out.

Phrasal verbs are verbs that are made of a verb (like help) and what we call a "particle" (like out). The particle is pretty much always from a preposition or an adverb. Together, they make a separate verb. This new verb is either the same as the other (maybe with some emphasis added, e.g. help --> help out), similar (take --> take over), or sometimes completely different (go --> go off). There are tons of phrasal verbs in English. Phrasal verbs are always less formal than their one-word synonyms (e.g. go in vs. enter). As you can see, go in is one verb (both words together). If we want to add auxiliary verbs, we can, but they are part of the verbal phrase (the phrase made of verbs), not part of the phrasal verb (the verb made of a phrase). Phrasal verbs conjugate the same way as the word they come from, with the particle added: go, goes, went, gone, going and go in, goes in, went in, gone in, going in. When phrasal verbs are "transitive" (when they have an object), there are two possibilities: the object can be put after the particle or in the middle of the two parts. Some phrasal verbs require that the object be after the particle (e.g. act for), others can have the object after the particle or between the verb and the particle (e.g. talk over the issue and talk the issue over), and you may even find some phrasal verbs that require the object in the middle. I hope that was easy to understand. Any questions? --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 22:20, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Phrasal verbs[change]

  • In phrasal verbs, pronouns must appear between the verb and particle. Determiners may occur after the particle.

A phrasal verb is a verb that idiomatically selects a prepositional phrase complement containing a specific preposition and the preposition's own complement, for example put in (=submit) & look over (=examine). Consider:

  • She put her application in.
  • She put it in.
  • She put in her application.
  • *She put in it.
  • I'll look the book over.
  • I'll look it over.
  • I'll look over the book.
  • I'll look over it. (grammar is OK, but meaning has changed)

(That message was from User:Brett (moved from user page)).

Noun template and phrasal verbs[change]

Your welcome for fixing the noun template (or making a noun2 template, actually). No problem. I thought about count nouns with no plural, too, but having a plural is what makes a noun "count." All other nouns are either mass nouns (non-count) like "sand" and "destruction" (which may have a plural that is starting to be used, but it would be an idiomatic, non-standard plural like "waters" or "sands") or are collective nouns (which we still haven't touched) like "flock" or "herd".

As far as phrasal verbs are concerned, I gave you more or less the traditional explanation, and Brett gave you the "ooh-wow, cutting-edge" explanation. But they both correctly describe the same thing, IMO. --Cromwellt|talk|contribs 02:26, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

AWL & word forms[change]

The AWL list gives the most common member of the family but includes all regularly derived and inflected members that share the same root.--Brett 02:19, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

order of definitions[change]

Grouping similar definitions is rather satisfying from the point of view of the order-obsessed writer (like me), but from the point of view of the user, a strictly frequency-based order is likely best. This lowers the chances of somebody picking the wrong definition because they were too lazy to look past the first one or two. I see this all the time in my ESL classes. Having said that, I don't have good data on which senses of break are more common, but I'm pretty sure that 'break the surface' isn't in the top 4.--Brett 01:32, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

OK. I like making two definitions into one, but when I can't do that nicely, I'll try to stop myself from changing the order (unless it looks very wrong for how frequent the definitions are). --Coppertwig 13:48, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Learning vocabulary in another language[change]

From the book Learning vocabulary in another language by I.S.P. Nation. (Cambridge Applied Linguistics Series. Series editors: Michael H. Long and Jack C Richards. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 521 804981)

  • "There is now an increasing number of studies that show that generative processing is an important factor in first and second language vocabulary learning. Generative processing occurs when previously met words are subsequently met or used in ways that differ from the previous meeting with the word. At its most striking, the new meeting with the word forces learners to reconceptualise their knowledge of that word. For example, if a learner has met the word cement used as a verb as in 'We cemented the path' and then meets 'We cemented our relationship with a drink', the learner will need to rethink the meaning and uses of cement and this will help firmly establish the memory of this word. Generative use is not restricted to metaphorical extension of word meaning and can apply to a range of variations from inflection through collocation and grammatical context to reference and meaning." (p. 68-69)
  • Simple: Now there are more and more scientific studies that show that generative thinking (creating) is important for a person to learn words in the person's first language or in another language. Generative thinking happens when a learner has already seen a word, and then sees the word again or uses it again but in a different way. The clearest example of generative thinking happens when the way the word is used makes the learner think about the word a different way. For example, if the learner has seen the word cement used as a verb as in 'We cemented the path' and then sees 'We cemented our relationship with a drink' (We are now friends because we drank a drink together), then the learner will need to think in a new way about the meaning of cement and how it is used, and this thinking will help the learner to remember the word very well. Generative use is not only about finding new meanings using metaphors. (A metaphor is when we say that one thing is like another thing. For example, making a path stay good for a long time by using cement is like making a friendship stay good for a long time by using a drink.) Generative use can be other ways to change the word. It can be changing the endings of the word to make it fit into the grammar of a different sentence. It can be changing the other words that are near the word. It can be about the grammar of the sentence or about the meaning.
  • "Pimsleur's [(1967)] suggestion, based on research evidence, is that the space between each repetition should become larger, with the initial repetitions being closer together and the later repetitions much further apart. [...] The scale is exponential, so if the first interval was five seconds, then the next interval should be 52 = 25 seconds, the next 53 = 125 seconds, and the next 54 = 625 seconds (about ten minutes) and so on." (On the next page: 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, 2 years.) (p. 77-78)
The exponential aspect of this is really just an artifice that depends crucially on switching units (e.g., from hours to days) at the correct time. That's not to say that the intervals are not the right ones.--Brett 14:51, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Simple: To remember words, Pimsleur says it's a good idea to use the words again and again, and each time wait a longer time before using the word again. If the learner waited 5 seconds the first time, then the next time the learner should wait seconds, and then the next time seconds, and then seconds (about ten minutes).
  • "McKeown (1993) [...] She found that if definitions were revised to use simpler language, focused on the typical underlying meaning of the word and encouraged learners to consider the whole definition, then learners were more able to write typical sentences using the new word and to explain aspects of its meaning. Unhelpful definitions were too general or vague, consisted of disjointed parts, and used words whose typical meanings took learners off on the wrong track. The revised meanings that were more effective tended to be longer than the original dictionary definitions." (p. 82)
  • Simple: McKeown learned about the best ways to make definitions. She learned that it's better to change definitions to use simpler language, and to make the centre of the definition be the usual basic meaning of the word, and to make definitions that get learners to think about the whole definition. When the definitions were like that, then learners were more able to write the usual kind of sentence using the word, and more able to tell about different parts of the meaning of the word. Definitions that were not good for the learners were too wide (having too many possible meanings inside one meaning) or were not clear, or they had different parts of the definition that were not joined together. Some of the definitions that were not good used words in the definition in a way that the word is not usually used, and the learners thought the usual meanings of those words was being used and got the wrong idea. The changed meanings that worked better were usually longer than the first definitions from the dictionary.

References as listed in the book:

  • Pimsleur, P., 1967. 'A memory schedule', Modern Language Journal,, 51, 73-75.
  • McKeown, M. G. (1993) 'Creating effective defniitions for young word learners', Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 17-31.

(Another book in the series is Perspectives in Pedagogical Grammar, ed. Terence Odlin, which I haven't read.) --Coppertwig 14:16, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Answer to Brett: I'm not sure exactly what you mean, and I think I don't agree. I think the exponential rule is probably because of something about the way the brain works. It's not necessary to change to different units: seconds could be used for all of them and it would work just fine except that the numbers would be hard to talk about or think about because they'd be big numbers of seconds. Using different units is not very important. Different units are just used to make it easier, just like when we measure anything else. I think the brain might use very different ways to remember things for short times and for long times, but that the brain tries to follow a pattern like the exponential rule. Or, maybe the brain uses a chemical system that follows an exponential rule. Many chemical systems follow exponential rules. For example, movement of heat from a hotter thing into a colder thing follows an exponential rule. Maybe movement of a chemical substance through a membrane also does. That kind of thing might be happening in the brain. The exponential rule is not only an idea that Pimsleur thought of. It's something about how the brain works. --Coppertwig 03:51, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

My memory must have been deceiving me. Now that I've gone back and looked at the article, I see that the math is correct. My apologies.--Brett 18:41, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


You're now an admin.--Brett 21:05, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for making me an administrator, Brett! Thanks for saying you would have nominated me. Most of all, thanks for all the work you've done on this project. It's nice to work with you.
Empire3131: Wow, thanks! What a nice comment to get as the first vote.
RyanCross: Thanks for coming here and being part of my RfA! I'll see you – here and on other projects! Coppertwig(talk) 14:50, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


Thanks for helping with cyclone. :) Juliancolton 00:56, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for thanking me! I didn't know if you would like me "helping"! Coppertwig(talk) 00:57, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm still a newbie here, so any help is appreciated! Juliancolton 00:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi, Coppertwig

I believe you've confused the attributive modifier function of nouns with the category of adjectives. It is a robust property of nouns that they can modify other nouns. Consider the example faculty office. Though faculty is modifying office, it would be quite a stretch to say that faculty exists as an adjective. I don't think twin has other properties of adjectives. For example, you can't modify it with very (e.g., *a very twin bed). You can't use it predicatively (e.g., *those beds are twin). You can't use it after become (e.g., *they became twin). And it's not gradable (e.g., this is *twinner than that). That's why I put it under the noun section. Feel free to prove me wrong though.--Brett 12:50, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

That's fine. I think you explained that to me before. Coppertwig(talk) 14:58, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi there. Could you please enable the gadget clean delete reasons please? They really should be clean deleted because some vandalism can be very offensive. You know what I am saying? Cheers, Razorflame 20:10, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi. Did I put bad vandalism in a delete reason? I think it's OK to use the automatic delete reasons, as long as they don't say bad things. I look at them to see if they look OK. Did I make a mistake? Do you think my delete reason was too long? Brett seems to use automatic delete reasons. Do I sound defensive enough? :-) Coppertwig(talk) 20:52, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Ok, there is no problem :). Just wanted to let you know about that since the delete log is permanent. Cheers, Razorflame 20:53, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
P.S: Sorry for deleting your userpage, but I didn't want that IP address to get out :). Cheers, Razorflame 21:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'll try to be careful. No problem about deleting my talk page. Coppertwig(talk) 00:43, 16 February 2009 (UTC)


Sorry for moving that page without letting you know. I moved it because as it was, it was in the article space, which it obviously should not have been. Cheers, Razorflame 21:50, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

No problem! No need to apologize. It was my mistake; and pages like that belong to the community, not to me. Coppertwig(talk) 02:14, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

input requested[change]

Please see my comments here and let me know what you think. I think we need to find a workable solution. Thanks!· Tygrrr... 17:48, 25 February 2009 (UTC)


Hello there! You've now been inactive on this wiki for over one year and not edited or made any other logged actions. I've proposed you for desysopping here. Best, -Barras (talk) 17:05, 31 August 2011 (UTC)