"The pool is deceptively shallow."

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
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Experts disagree. Will ATOT?

You think it means that the pool is deep, though it appears shallow.
You think it means the pool is shallow, though it appears deep.
You think I have way too much time on my hands.
How the hell am I getting home today?

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deceptively

Usage Note: When deceptively is used to modify an adjective, the meaning is often unclear. Does the sentence The pool is deceptively shallow mean that the pool is shallower or deeper than it appears? When the Usage Panel was asked to decide, 50 percent thought the pool shallower than it appears, 32 percent thought it deeper than it appears, and 18 percent said it was impossible to judge. Thus a warning notice worded in such a way would be misinterpreted by many of the people who read it, and others would be uncertain as to which sense was intended. Where the context does not make the meaning of deceptively clear, the sentence should be rewritten, as in The pool is shallower than it looks or The pool is shallow, despite its appearance.



EDIT: Strong majority voice thus far for 'shallower'. Consider this argument for 'deeper':

p1: "I'm going to hike up my pants and walk across that stream. It only looks like it's a foot or so deep."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the water is deceptively shallow, you'll be in over your head by midstream."

And the argument for shallower:

p1: "I'm going to dive into the pool, it looks pretty deep over here."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the pool is deceptively shallow, it only looks deep because of the way the light moves through the water."
 

skyking

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
22,192
5,030
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As written, I would assume a headfirst dive into that pool would break my neck.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
14,218
4,446
136
You can not tell how deep that pool is, that is impossible. Only try to realize the truth... There is no pool. Then you will realize it is you that is shallow.

 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
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Could one simply rewrite the sentence?
The pool is deceptively shallow
or
The shallowness of the pool is deceptive.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,980
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It's both amusing and frustrating when geeks over-think things. :p
 

TecHNooB

Diamond Member
Sep 10, 2005
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Deceptively shallow, meaning it appears shallow but it really isn't. That's how I interpret the sentence.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
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Originally posted by: Amused
It's both amusing and frustrating when geeks over-think things. :p

This, sir, is a thread about the English language and as such I take your words quite seriously, and I object to your characterizing persons interested in the peculiarities of language as circus freaks known for biting the heads off live chickens and drinking their blood. I said good day!
 

CRXican

Diamond Member
Jun 9, 2004
9,062
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Originally posted by: TecHNooB
Deceptively shallow, meaning it appears shallow but it really isn't. That's how I interpret the sentence.

same here
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
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Strong majority voice thus far for 'shallower'. Consider this argument for 'deeper':

p1: "I'm going to hike up my pants and walk across that stream. It aint but a foot or so deep."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the water is deceptively shallow, you'll be in over your head by midstream."
 

hanoverphist

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2006
9,928
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the pool appears shallow, but that is the deception. it is deeper than it appears.

edit: oops
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
14,218
4,446
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Originally posted by: jonks
Strong majority voice thus far for 'shallower'. Consider this argument for 'deeper':

p1: "I'm going to hike up my pants and walk across that stream. It aint but a foot or so deep."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the water is deceptively shallow, you'll be in over your head by midstream."

The experts that read this sentence and could not agree do not seem to be very expert at English. They seem to be forgetting that shallow in these sentence is not a verb.

Here is a breakdown of the sentence.

The pool = subject

is = the verb

deceptively = adverb

shallow = adjective

So, deceptively is modifying the word IS not SHALLOW.
What IS the pool? Shallow.
So what is deceptive about the pool? That it IS shallow instead of appearing shallow.
Therefore, the pool actually is shallow, but it deceives by not appearing that way.

 

MrPickins

Diamond Member
May 24, 2003
9,019
586
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Smogzinn has it right:

The pool is (deceptively) shallow.
The pool is shallow.
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
62,398
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Originally posted by: TecHNooB
Deceptively shallow, meaning it appears shallow but it really isn't. That's how I interpret the sentence.

Same.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
81
Originally posted by: SMOGZINN
Originally posted by: jonks
Strong majority voice thus far for 'shallower'. Consider this argument for 'deeper':

p1: "I'm going to hike up my pants and walk across that stream. It aint but a foot or so deep."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the water is deceptively shallow, you'll be in over your head by midstream."

The experts that read this sentence and could not agree do not seem to be very expert at English. They seem to be forgetting that shallow in these sentence is not a verb.

Here is a breakdown of the sentence.

The pool = subject

is = the verb

deceptively = adverb

shallow = adjective

So, deceptively is modifying the word IS not SHALLOW.
What IS the pool? Shallow.
So what is deceptive about the pool? That it IS shallow instead of appearing shallow.
Therefore, the pool actually is shallow, but it deceives by not appearing that way.

Adverbs can modify verbs or adjectives. How do you determine whether the adverb in this case (DECEPTIVELY) is modifying the verb (IS) or the adjective (SHALLOW)?

You asked: What IS the pool? What if what the pool is "deceptively shallow", i.e. not shallow?
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
19
81
It doesn't matter anyway.


Pool's Closed. :p



I would suggest a modification to the sign:
"Don't dive into the pool here or you'll crack your neck on the bottom."

Or simpler yet:
"WARNING: Shallow water. Do not dive."



 

D1gger

Diamond Member
Oct 3, 2004
5,411
2
76
Originally posted by: SMOGZINN
Originally posted by: jonks
Strong majority voice thus far for 'shallower'. Consider this argument for 'deeper':

p1: "I'm going to hike up my pants and walk across that stream. It aint but a foot or so deep."
p2: "I wouldn't recommend that friend, the water is deceptively shallow, you'll be in over your head by midstream."

The experts that read this sentence and could not agree do not seem to be very expert at English. They seem to be forgetting that shallow in these sentence is not a verb.

Here is a breakdown of the sentence.

The pool = subject

is = the verb

deceptively = adverb

shallow = adjective

So, deceptively is modifying the word IS not SHALLOW.
What IS the pool? Shallow.
So what is deceptive about the pool? That it IS shallow instead of appearing shallow.
Therefore, the pool actually is shallow, but it deceives by not appearing that way.

QFT. That is exactly how I read it.