Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Thanks jxramos, good questions. FTR I had to look up "amphiboly":

  > "Linguistically, an amphiboly is an ambiguity which results from ambiguous grammar, as opposed to one that results from the ambiguity of words or phrases—that is, Equivocation."
Your reply - and a handful of rare / unexpected downvotes led me to re-read my comment, and in retrospect I realize I did a poor job communicating. I intended simply to convey my amusement at the ambiguity. I think for all intents and purposes his sentence was an amphiboly.

"Fixing" it would probably involve rephrasing to reverse the order of "people" and "pattern" in the sentence or just put all the emphasis on the pattern:

"... these patterns, when discovered, have a habit of disappearing"

Strict correctness regarding subject:verb agreement can, like other grammatical constructs, lead to non-idiomatic, awkward phrasing. Formal "rules" about prepositions are the first related example I can think of. ("... of which I can think" is awful, right?). My point was just to laugh at the ambiguity. (shrug)

PS The sinister "people are disappearing" interpretation was the 1st way I read it.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact