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On 2019-07-29 03:59, Cameron Simpson wrote: > On 29Jul2019 10:15, Chris Angelico <rosuav at gmail.com> wrote: >>On Mon, Jul 29, 2019 at 10:06 AM Richard Damon <Richard at damon-family.org> wrote: >>> When talking of empty strings, we need to look a bit at context. "The >>> empty string" implies that there is only one of them, and if we are >>> talking about values, then there is only one empty string values, so >>> "The empty string value" would be correct (and the term value might be >>> implied by context). If we are talking about object, like with the >>> python word "is", then the empty string is not promised to be a >>> singleton, so grammatically, it should be "A empty string object", and >>> again the term object might be implied by the context. >> >>So I guess the original question can be reworded as: >> >>When you're describing indistinguishable objects, are you really >>talking about objects, or are you talking about values? >> >>With numbers, it's pretty obvious that you talk about values. You can >>logically say "if the spamminess is zero, blah blah blah" even though >>you'd actually say "if spam == 0:" in the code. With strings, is it >>therefore logical to say "is the empty string" even though you'd >>actually be comparing to see if it "==" another empty string? > > I wouldn't be saying "the empty string". I'd being describing the > string: "if the string is empty", "if s is an empty string", etc. So > values again. > > I think the wish to use the phrasing "the empty string" either comes > from an implied metaphorthat assumes deduped immutable objects or from a > mathematical background where eg in set theory one talks about "the > empty set". Someone else posted a better description of the methematical > context, where "the empty set" is effectively naming a category of sets > (those of size 0) and considering that a single thing in that context. > > I'm for running with "values" in the example you started with. I think > the "the empty string" is mathematical context specific terminology > leaking into the wrong domain. > There's also the use of the definite article when referring to the members of a class as whole, e.g. "the elephant is a large mammal".

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