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"Time flies prefer an arrow: fruit flies favor a banana” is often attributed to the comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977), but Marx—if he ever before said it—almost certainly has naught to carry out with the saying. “Time flies” is indigenous the ancient Latin saying tempus fugit. “Time flies favor an arrow” (that is, time overcome surely and swiftly) is a Chinese maxim that has been cited in English due to the fact that at least 1815. Anthony G. Oettinger, the Gordon McKay Professor of used Mathematics and also Professor of info Resources policy (Emeritus) in ~ Harvard University, and also Susumu Kuno experiment the saying “Time flies choose an arrow” in 1963 into an IBM 7090 computer. The word “flies” deserve to be both a noun and a verb. A November 1963 newspaper story reported the the computer system would it is in tripped increase on the sentence “Fruit flies favor bananas.” “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies choose a banana” became popular in computational linguistics. Wikipedia: Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies prefer a banana“Time flies prefer an arrow; fruit flies prefer a banana,” is a saying, often interpreted humorously, the is provided in grammars as an instance of a garden path sentence and also syntactic ambiguity, and in word play as an example of punning, twin entendre, and antanaclasis. A reasonably common variant is, “Time flies prefer the wind; fruit flies choose a banana.” The semicolon is sometimes replaced by a complete stop, or the second fifty percent may be preceded by the word but. Part versions have bananas rather of a banana. Google BooksA dictionary of the Chinese Language: In three PartsVolume 1By Robert MorrisonMacao: printed at the Honorable east India Company’s Press1815Pg. 755:But time flies favor an arrow. Google BooksChinese ethical Maxims, v a totally free and linguistic translationCompiled by man Francis DavisLondon: john Murray1823Pg. 28:XXXVII. Time flies choose an arrow: days and also months choose a weaver’s shuttle. 14 November 1963, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 2, col. 1:MACHINE MAY discover ENGLISH—IN TIMENew type of paris Swats ComputerBy FRED BRADYTwo Harvard professors sat in former of your best-behaved pupil—an IBM 7090 computer—and directed: “Parse this sentence: ‘Time flies like an arrow.’”(...)This time, not so pleased to be Profs. Anthony Oettinger and Susumu Kuno.(...)The professors included this in your report yesterday in las Vegas come a computer system conference the the American Federation of info Processing Societies. Google News Archive14 November 1963, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “Those Foolish Computers,” pg. 28, cols. 1-2:Take the simile “Time flies prefer an arrow.” A grammarian easily identifies “time” together a subject of the verb “flies,” the verb gift modified through the adverbial phrase “like one arrow.” The computer system will analyze the sentence in the same method but, being literal minded, that doesn’t prevent here. It also will clack and bleep out beauties favor these: “Determine the rate of paris as quick as friend can” and also “A types of fly, referred to as time flies, enjoys one arrow.” girlfriend could, of course, train the electronic mind to avoid this foolishness and avoid misuse of “flies” in the simile. Climate it would expedition in taking care of a sentence favor “Fruit flies prefer bananas.” 15 September 1964, Hattiesburg (MS) American, “Writers space safe” by Archy Fairly, pg. 2, col. 1:With old automation creeping increase on us in plenty of ways us don’t even dream of, writers need to feel relieved at the an outcome of part recent computer system tests in ~ Harvard.(...)The thing appeared to execute all ideal with some an easy sentences, such as “people check out English.” Another straightforward sentence, “time flys prefer an arrow,” made the stutter, screen some pyrotechnics and say “er-uh” as plenty of times as the man from Texas. The bad old machine just couldn’t figure out how fast flies fly, or whether a certain kind the flies, dubbed time, are fond of arrows. The programmers can make it answer one way or another, yet then the an equipment couldn’t handle a simple sentence like: “Fruit flies like bananas.” Google BooksThe computer system Age and also Its Potential for ManagementBy Gilbert BurckNew York, NY: Harper & Row1965Pg. 61:This is quiet a long way off, however a regime written (Pg. 62—ed.) by Anthony Oettinger and also Susumu Kuno of Harvard’s Computational Library permits a computer system to list all possible meanings. ‘Time flies favor an arrow” might seem fairly straightforward to us, but a maker sees a number of other possibilities—for example, “Time the rate of flies as quickly as you can” ("time" being construed as a verb fairly than a noun) and also “Certain flies gain an arrow” ("time" being interpreted as an adjective, and also “like” being construed as a verb). The machine could it is in instructed to rule out these specific offbeat parsings, but how would it take care of the sentence, “Fruit flies prefer bananas”? difficulties of semantics continue to plague investigators concerned with advanced man-machine communication. The Harvard CrimsonComputer use to Be increased TenfoldBy JOEL R. KRAMER,Published: Tuesday, march 29, 1966(...)Take the sentence: “Time flies prefer an arrow.” rather of having actually the machine say, “time: subject, verb, adjective,” and also having the observer pick “subject” for this specific context, why can’t the device be instructed come “figure that out?” “Time flies prefer an arrow” is no really very different native “Fruit flies prefer a banana,” yet their diagrams room at the contrary poles. In the latter, “fruit flies” room a species of fly and also “like” is a verb. Why shouldn’t the device say the “time flies” are one more (admittedly rarer) species? September 1966, scientific American, “The uses of computers in Science” by Anthony Oettinger, pg. 168:A grammar that pretends to explain English at all accurately must yield a framework for “Time flies prefer an arrow” in i m sorry “time” is the subject of the verb “flies” and also “like an arrow” is an adverbial phrase editing the verb. “Time” can also serve attributively, however, together in “time bomb,” and “flies” the course have the right to serve together a noun. In addition to “like” interpreted as a verb, this returns a structure that becomes apparent only if one thinks of a sort of flies dubbed “time flies,” which happen to prefer an arrow, possibly as a meal. Moreover, “time” together an imperative verb v “flies” together a noun also yields a framework that makes sense as an stimulate to who to take out his stopwatch and also time flies with great dispatch, or favor an arrow.(...)Worse yet anything judgment out the nonexisting types of time paris will additionally rule out the identical but legitimate structure of “Fruit flies prefer a banana.” Google BooksRun, Computer, Run; The Mythology of educational InnovationBy Anthony G. Oettinger and also Sema MarksCambridge, MA: Harvard college Press1969Pg. 29:Worse yet, anything ruling out the nonexisting types of time paris will likewise rule the end the identical however legitimate framework of “Fruit flies favor a banana.” Google BooksHandbook of decided Pathology and also AudiologyBy Lee Edward TravisNew York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts1971Pg. 1165:“Fruit flies like a banana.”Semantics, the all too nebulous notion of what a sentence means, need to be invoked to choose among the three frameworks syntax accepts for “Time flies like an arrow.” No techniques now known have the right to deal successfully with semantic troubles of this kind.