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Subject: Is "verb" a legal clue? rss

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David Jones
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I was teaching this game to my mother last night and as we were going through the cards it occurred to me for the first time that every word in the deck is a noun. Many of them are homographs that serve as verbs as well as nouns. For example, "row" as a noun can refer to a line of items, but as a verb it is also an action you take to propel a boat forward. These are clearly different words, but they have the same spelling. So yes, many of the words in Codenames are also verbs, but that does not prevent them from being all nouns.

So here comes the crux of a hypothetical clue. Suppose the only verb eligible words on the board belong to my team. It would be nice to say "verb - three" as a clue. But as was pointed out to me in another thread, clues have to be about the meaning of a word. Clearly "verb" or "adjective" talks about a possible meaning of a word, but it doesn't actually say anything about the meaning of the word itself. Is this a valid clue or not?
 
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Alison Mandible
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"Verb" isn't about the meaning of a word.

"Action" or "activity" is, so I guess those are legal. It's boring, like when the names of three countries are on the board and they're all in your color, but if it falls in your lap, go for it.

Of course, not all verbs do denote actions, so it's not exactly the same. But it's close.
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Alvin C
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I wouldn't allow it since I think it's more related to the word rather than the meaning of the word. It's also a uninteresting clue.

However, I wouldn't begrudge someone else allowing it in their games.
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Susan
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I don't think it's falls within the spirit of the game.

That being said, recently during a game of Codenames Pictures, someone gave the clue "Geometry: 4" and sure enough the other team was able to suss out the exact 4 words he meant and they ended up crushing us. "Geometry" isn't really about the meaning of the pictures, but maybe the two games are so different as to be non-sequitur?
 
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Ben Bateson
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I think it's allowable. But it is extremely risky. A large number of the words are both noun and verb. You'd need to be very sure you were giving the right clue.
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Chris S
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I see why people wouldn't like it, and it's unlikely to be useful, but I think it is absolutely an allowable clue. "Verb" gives you information about the definition of the word, albeit very little. Clues that aren't allowed involve things like hinting at the length of a word, the first letter of a word, or its position in the grid. To me, it doesn't seem any different than any category based clue, e.g. "animal" or "location". It's just a very broad category.
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Andrew Kapish
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We'd let it slide in my group …but we'd also give you some crap for inventing the world's most boring Codenames clue.
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1 Lucky Texan
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Spruta wrote:
I see why people wouldn't like it, and it's unlikely to be useful, but I think it is absolutely an allowable clue. "Verb" gives you information about the definition of the word, albeit very little. Clues that aren't allowed involve things like hinting at the length of a word, the first letter of a word, or its position in the grid. To me, it doesn't seem any different than any category based clue, e.g. "animal" or "location". It's just a very broad category.



verb gives some information about 'part of speech' and none about 'meaning' of a word.

If it's allowed, so is noun, adjective, pronoun, etc.

no reason the game can't be played allowing it, but, IMHO, it isn't in the 'spirit' of the game as interpreted in the instructions, and should be thought of as a variant or house rule.
 
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David Jones
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Regarding being "boring" or "uninventive" I was the first person out of the 12 or so people I've played this with to notice that all the Codenames are nouns. Boring may true, but its a clever observation that 91% of the other players haven't noticed yet. Since the point of the game is find inventive ways of connecting the words, I think it at least deserves credit for noticing a connection that others haven't. As pointed out, how is it any less boring of a clue than "city" or "animal" which, as clues, are commonly used low hanging fruit in this game? Thus, I think the clue fits the spirit of the game even if it may not fit the spirit of rules. This, IMHO, is why it becomes difficult to judge.

As a side note, it also makes me wonder if there is a reason verb-exclusive words were excluded from the game. Its probably easier to connect nouns than it is verbs, but a verb-oriented Codenames expansion might be interesting.
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L W
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
verb gives some information about 'part of speech' and none about 'meaning' of a word.


I don't see a distinction. If you didn't know what the word "giraffe" meant, for instance, my indication of the word as a noun would increase your understanding of its meaning, as it would if I said it was an animal or that it was African.

1 Lucky Texan wrote:
If it's allowed, so is noun, adjective, pronoun, etc.


You seem to be going for an argumentum ad absurdum here, but I don't see any problem with allowing all of these.
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Alison Mandible
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SeaCalMaster wrote:
1 Lucky Texan wrote:
verb gives some information about 'part of speech' and none about 'meaning' of a word.


I don't see a distinction. If you didn't know what the word "giraffe" meant, for instance, my indication of the word as a noun would increase your understanding of its meaning


Really? What does it tell you about the meaning?

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Jonathan Chaffer
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grasa_total wrote:
SeaCalMaster wrote:
If you didn't know what the word "giraffe" meant, for instance, my indication of the word as a noun would increase your understanding of its meaning


Really? What does it tell you about the meaning?

It would tell me that it is a person, place or thing!
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Alison Mandible
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JonBob wrote:
It would tell me that it is a person, place or thing!


Okay, but...

Is "listening" a thing?

Is "width" a thing?

Is "malice" a thing?

If other parts of speech appeared in Codenames, I'd use pretty much the same clues for "listening" as for "listen", the same clues for "width" as for "wide", and the same clues for "malice" as for "maliciously". To me the distinctions between them seem as irrelevant to the game as word length.

On the other hand, I do totally use clues which depend on a word having appeared in a title-- like, "south" is an acceptable clue for PARK, even though it's not a good clue for OUTDOORS or GLADE or ZOO or any other word whose meaning overlaps with PARK. Now that I'm thinking about it, that seems inconsistent of me.
 
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Ben Bateson
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JonBob wrote:


Is "listening" a thing?


No, it is a gerund verb

Quote:
Is "width" a thing?


Yes

Quote:
Is "malice" a thing?


Yes

Quote:
I'd use pretty much the same clues for "listening" as for "listen"


Not if you knew the difference between a gerund and a present participle.

Quote:
the same clues for "width" as for "wide"


Not if you knew the difference between a noun and an adjective. This is elementary school stuff, really.

Quote:
and the same clues for "malice" as for "maliciously".


Not if you knew the difference between a noun and an adverb.

Quote:
To me the distinctions between them seem as irrelevant to the game as word length.


But what about something like 'hearing' which is a noun but also has sense as a verb? If you just dismiss that as 'the same as 'hear'', then you will be a poor Codenames player.

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1 Lucky Texan
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suppose you get a game condition where your words are the only multi-syllabic words left and you clue, " syllables; 3 "



legal?
 
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Grant
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
suppose you get a game condition where your words are the only multi-syllabic words left and you clue, " syllables; 3 "



legal?

No, clearly.
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1 Lucky Texan
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latinate; 2 (or hellenic or germanic, etc.)

?
 
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Robert Stewart
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ousgg wrote:
JonBob wrote:


Is "listening" a thing?


No, it is a gerund verb


Or an adjective.



I would regard part of speech as a structural clue, like word length, spelling, or position on the grid. I don't absolutely insist on it being invalid, but it's not something I'd accept (or use).
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Grant
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
latinate; 2 (or hellenic or germanic, etc.)

?

No. What is this line of questioning you're on? Obviously number of syllables and origin have nothing to do with what a word means.

I'm sure you already knew these answers and you're trying to make a point relating back to allowing verb. I tend to agree with you but I don't think you're doing a very good job making your point.
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Robert Stewart
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grant5 wrote:
1 Lucky Texan wrote:
latinate; 2 (or hellenic or germanic, etc.)

?

No. What is this line of questioning you're on? Obviously number of syllables and origin have nothing to do with what a word means.

I'm sure you already knew these answers and you're trying to make a point relating back to allowing verb. I tend to agree with you but I don't think you're doing a very good job making your point.


Or possibly, having discovered people allowing words he wouldn't, he's now probing to discover where the new line is. If part of speech is an acceptable clue, then how about origin? There are some broad correlations with meaning - we farm in German, but eat in French; Greek words tend to be academic; etc.
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David Jones
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rmsgrey wrote:
If part of speech is an acceptable clue, then how about origin? There are some broad correlations with meaning - we farm in German, but eat in French; Greek words tend to be academic; etc.


If my opponents are that knowledgeable about linguistics, I've probably already lost anyway.
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