[Haskell-cafe] Ordering vs. Order

Steve Schafer steve at fenestra.com
Thu Oct 7 09:29:42 EDT 2010

On Thu, 07 Oct 2010 10:02:20 +0200, you wrote:

>I'm not a native English speaker and recently I was wondering about the 
>two words "order" and "ordering" (the main reason why I write this to 
>the Haskell mailing list, is that the type class "Ordering" does exist).
>My dictionaries tell me that "order" (besides other meanings) denotes an 
>ordered structure on elements and "ordering" (as only meaning) denotes 
>some request that I made at some entity. So, to me it seems that calling 
>the type class "Ordering" is wrong ;)

Considering them both used as nouns, I would say that in normal usage,
there is a difference in their active/passive connotation. If you have a
collection of things, they have an order, whether or not that order was
imposed on them (it could be that they just fell out of the box in a
certain order). On the other hand, if they possess an ordering, it
implies that someone or something put them in that order; i.e., that it
was a purposeful act.

I think the reason for this conceptual distinction can be traced to the
derivation of "ordering" as the gerund form of the verb "order," in that
it implies that an action has occurred (or is still occurring).

-Steve Schafer

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