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Forum LockedCurved sword vs. Straight sword...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Curved sword vs. Straight sword...
    Posted: 29-Jun-2007 at 13:38
What would be the advantageous? Try to assume that the amount of iron used to forge these swords are relatively similar... so if one straighten the curved sword used often by the Middle Eastern soldiers... it would have the same length as the normal straight sword?
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2007 at 19:22
Yet again, Pekau, things like these always depend on the situation. Who strikes who first, what shields are being used (if any).etc
But most importantly, the most decisive factor would probably be who was actually wielding the weapon (their skill and experience).

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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2007 at 19:52
The principle of the curved sword is that you have a longer blade in a smaller space - so it has a smaller swinging arc with the same length of blade. There are advantages and disadvantages to a smaller swinging arc - some of the advantages are that you can get inside the arc of an opponent with a larger arc, or you can fight in more confined space (allowing more closely packed fighting units). It has disadvantages too - smaller arc means shorter reach, for instance.

The other feature of the curved blade is that the curve imparts more effect to a slicing action, and it is more suitable for slicing or slashing than a straight blade, which is more suitable for hacking or chopping actions (and stabbing, in the case of swords). Slicing is faster, more accurate, and takes less exertion than hacking. The reason Europeans didn't start using curved blades until relatively late in their history was that you can't slice armour, it must be hacked or pierced by a stabbing action.

Besides the disappearance of armour, European light cavalry frequently adopted curved sabres because they were better at slicing and slashing, which you can do from horseback while moving at speed (chopping and stabbing with blades is hard to do at anything faster than a trot). Heavy cavalry - which fought in more tightly packed formations - retained the straight blade, because in a close formation, cavalry had to use a vertical swinging arc and metal helmets cannot be sliced.

Edited by edgewaters - 29-Jun-2007 at 20:10
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jun-2007 at 23:33
They had this one on Sword forum way back with most of the best sword makers in the world contributing. They came to the conclusion, they couldn't come to a conclusion.
 
A couple of urban legends though, that straight swords are inferior at cutting to curved ones and that you 'chop' not do a skilled 'cut' with a straight blade. Having a longer sword than the opponent a huge advatage and you really don't want to get inside someones swing. Sword fights usually only a last a single blow, and who strikes first wins.
 
Other than that pretty much as Knights says. In a sword fight you don't ask what the swords are, you ask who the weilders are.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 01:06
Originally posted by Paul

A couple of urban legends though, that straight swords are inferior at cutting to curved ones and that you 'chop' not do a skilled 'cut' with a straight blade.


Hardly an urban legend. Knives intended only for slicing are usually made with an arcing blade, because they offer a superior slicing action (example, fillet knife, or carving knife) by leaning into a slice, while knives intended for chopping and slicing usually have a straighter blade. Some slicing knives are relatively straight, but only because some people find it more difficult to control the action. You will also notice that all scalpel blades, for instance, feature a curved cutting edge, except No. 11 blades, which are straight to provide more control (they are used for tricky or delicate cuts). I doubt scalpel design specifications are influenced by urban legends - there's a reason every blade but no. 11 is curved, just as there is a reason no. 11 is straight.

Not to say that you can't slice something with a butcher's knife (or a straight sword), or that you might not do so often, or that it is no good for slicing, or that it is not designed to be used for slicing. Simply that curved blades offer a tiny advantage in slicing, but don't (usually) chop very well at all.

Straight blades can slice as well as curved blades - the 'leaning' effect of the blade occurs from the angle. Curved blades simply feature an angle that leans into the cut, but a straight blade can be held at an angle so that it provides the exact same effect.

Some curved blades - those with a trailing point and single edge - are designed specifically for chopping, too. An example is the falchion sword, which is used like an axe. Some machetes and scimitars are also single edge, trailing point blades. These are not curved for any slicing effect; the curve is actually just a byproduct of the trailing edge feature, which is for balance during the chopping action.

As well, chopping is an action requiring more precision and control than slicing, not the other way around. Straight edges are for control - a straight chopping knife or a shaving razor is straight for this reason. You would not want a curved shaving razor! Straight blades also tend to be more versatile, while curved blades tend to be more specialized to specific sorts of actions.

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 02:53
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 11:52
Originally posted by edgewaters


Straight blades can slice as well as curved blades - the 'leaning' effect of the blade occurs from the angle. Curved blades simply feature an angle that leans into the cut, but a straight blade can be held at an angle so that it provides the exact same effect.
 
'Leaning' or curvature of a blade isn't really important in a sword cut. As for reproducing it in a straight blade, this is totally unnecessay (as well as lousy swordsmanship). Doing this would reduce the momentum and velocity. Also a straight blade has a different edge geometry design to create minimum resistance and maximise cut when the sword is used as it was intended.
 
The factors that contribute to a sword cut have been worked out  and turned into quantifyable mathmetical principles for a along time now. They're based upon, resistance, POI density, velocity, momentum, cross sections and geometry, to name a few.
 
Leaning into a cut isn't one of them.  Besides this there's no such thing as a standard curved sword. All have different geometry and most so mild a curve, such as a katana, the cutting physics is no different to a straight blade.
 
 
 

Some curved blades - those with a trailing point and single edge - are designed specifically for chopping, too. An example is the falchion sword, which is used like an axe. Some machetes and scimitars are also single edge, trailing point blades. These are not curved for any slicing effect; the curve is actually just a byproduct of the trailing edge feature, which is for balance during the chopping action.
 
Machete are most definantely not designed for chopping. The are designed to use the laws of physics to maximise their cutting potential. They are only able to a achieve a low velocity when swung so need to acheive the highest possible POI density, and are beautifully designed to do so.
 
 


chopping is an action requiring more precision and control than slicing, not the other way around. 
 
LOL
 
So the Samurai who were required to perform a 1000 practice cuts a day, and taught they could never perfected it, were terribly misguided.


Edited by Paul - 30-Jun-2007 at 11:57
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 14:38
the latest swords used in military service were Samurai swords and cavalry sabres, amongst them the Shashka. they all have something in common, they are one-handed, slightly curved and one-edged.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 15:13
European Cavalry sabres use restrictive hilts that force square grip cuts. Many have wider tips that imbalance the sword but increase the POI density and velocity giving maximum cutty to minimal swing and energy expended. Ideal for horseback where swinging is difficult at gallop. Basically they are swords that do everything and the weilder does nothing, ideal for the most minimally trained swordsman, completely limiting upon the user and good for nothing but a mounted cut.
 
Katana hilts mean they use the completely different extended wrist cutting tecnique. They are very well balanced, versatile and force few restriction as swords on the swordsman so allow a skilled swordsman to use freely. They also were an anachronism by the 19th century and used largely for traditional reasons.
 
 
It's interesting that medieval European broadswords used extended wrist cutting hilts like katana but from the 18th century tended to have square hilt grips. Suggesting a diminishing of swordmanship skills by the users.
 
Hilts of swords are a much more important and legitimate way of analysing swords than curved vs straight.


Edited by Paul - 30-Jun-2007 at 15:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 16:28
Originally posted by Paul

Doing this would reduce the momentum and velocity.


Perhaps you don't understand the difference between a slice and a chop. A slice doesn't rely on momentum at all. It is when you draw a blade across a surface; a chop is when you impact a surface and relies on momentum and velocity. A slice relies on the pressure of the blade against the surface, the angle at which force is applied, and the grain of the material being cut. A chop, on the other hand, cuts by striking. A chop doesn't have to be a great blundering strike relying on sheer force, either. Many kinds of chopping are intended for cuts involving precision (eg dicing food).

Machete are most definantely not designed for chopping. The are designed to use the laws of physics to maximise their cutting potential. They are only able to a achieve a low velocity when swung so need to acheive the highest possible POI density, and are beautifully designed to do so.


By definition, slicing doesn't involve swinging anything (except, perhaps, to position the blade onto the surface - one could even begin a slice with a chop, and I expect in swordplay, often did). As stated above, it is the act of drawing a blade across a surface. Think incisions or filleting or carving.

So the Samurai who were required to perform a 1000 practice cuts a day, and taught they could never perfected it, were terribly misguided.


I imagine those were chops, not slices. Were they blows or strikes? Then it is a chopping action (though it may, of course, be followed with a slice if the blade is subsequently drawn across the material). But that's not to say slicing doesn't involve skill; ask any chef, slicing can be demanding, but chopping is yet harder. Cutting can be achieved either by slicing or chopping. You can slash with a chop, just as you can with a slice.

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 16:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 16:59
Originally posted by edgewaters



Perhaps you don't understand the difference between a slice and a chop. A slice doesn't rely on momentum at all. It is when you draw a blade across a surface; a chop is when you impact a surface and relies on momentum and velocity. A slice relies on the pressure of the blade against the surface, the angle at which force is applied, and the grain of the material.
 
I know enough about them to know neither of them are done with swords. So it seems strange why they are being used in a conversation about sword cutting if they are not being mistakely used to refer to a cut.
 
 
Originally posted by paul

So the Samurai who were required to perform a 1000 practice cuts a day, and taught they could never perfected it, were terribly misguided.[QUOTE=edgewaters] [quote]

I imagine those were chops, not slices. But that's not to say slicing doesn't involve skill; ask any chef, slicing can be demanding, but chopping is yet harder.
 
They were definantely cutting. It's highly skilled and uses the blade's attributes. It takes years to learn and every milimetre of the action is thought through re-analised over hours of practice and perfected by repetition.
 
 
 
 
Any idiot with a cheap chinese katana and a dvd camera can chop with the sword like it was a club.
 
 
 
 
Here's a good primer on understand what a sword cut is.
 


Edited by Paul - 30-Jun-2007 at 17:06
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 17:16
Originally posted by Paul

I know enough about them to know neither of them are done with swords.


To cut anything, you must either chop it, or slice it. If your cut relies on drawing the blade across the surface, it is a slice. If you strike a blow on the surface with the blade, it is a chop. It is hard for me to imagine that swords could cut in any other fashion.

They were definantely cutting.


Chops and slices are both types of cutting. If you're chopping wood, hopefully, you are cutting it - in half, with any luck. Cutting simply refers to separating material, and it can be achieved in many different ways.

The first video illustrates a chopping cut. The fact that the cut is clean, does not mean it is a slice; slicing is used in many different tasks to achieve a cleaner cut, but depending on the task, you can achieve a cleaner cut by chopping. If you tried to slice the head off a chicken, you would have to slice repeatedly (in other words, you'd have to saw its head off), and you wouldn't get any points for finesse; a skilled chop is what you want here.

The second video just shows someone who is unskilled with that kind of chopping action. You might call this hacking, which refers to trying to cut something by applying effort in lieu of skill and precision, in a series of repeated and irregular blows. Hacking and chopping are not the same thing. If you're chopping firewood, and you are hacking every piece, you're doing something wrong. If you chop most pieces with a single blow, you're doing it right.

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 17:22
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 17:20
Coming into a debate about swords and trying to change the established sword terminology used by every book, school and experienced swordsman in the world and saying you are wrong and must start saying it my way seems a little unrealistic.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 17:34
Originally posted by Paul

Coming into a debate about swords and trying to change the established sword terminology used by every book, school and experienced swordsman in the world and saying you are wrong and must start saying it my way seems a little unrealistic.


All I'm saying is that curved blades effect slicing actions (slicing as it is meant by the modern-day blade manufacturing industry, whether it be industrial slicers or kitchen knives) because slicing is heavily dependant on angles. I don't imagine this industry is driven by "urban legends" in its design choices.

Differences in terminology aside, when you draw a blade across a surface to separate the material, rather than striking it to achieve separation - whatever you want to call that, a curved blade changes the action. I don't know about much about the terminology used by sword hobbyists, but the rest of us say things like "The man chopped wood for an hour, cutting many pieces into a suitable size for his fireplace. Then he went inside and with a few deft slices, filleted his fish, cutting the meat from skin and bone."

I can't talk in the jargon of the sword hobby, nor can many people, but cutting, chopping, and slicing have not deviated from their usage in common English in the above statement, have they? I'm hardly redefining terms here. To say that a machete does not chop is at odds with the entire English language - it chops, in order to cut.

Cutting isn't a technique or kind of stroke. It's a separation of material or the act of doing so. You can cut trees down, you can make a cut in a tree. You can cut something with a sword or knife. But the technique you use to do so has other words, like a stroke, a hack, a slice, a chop. This isn't some strange jargon, it's everyday English, and I'm hardly redefining anything.

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 18:51
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 18:50
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by Paul

Coming into a debate about swords and trying to change the established sword terminology used by every book, school and experienced swordsman in the world and saying you are wrong and must start saying it my way seems a little unrealistic.


All I'm saying is that curved blades effect slicing actions (slicing as it is meant by the modern-day blade manufacturing industry, whether it be industrial slicers or kitchen knives) because slicing is heavily dependant on angles. I don't imagine this industry is driven by "urban legends" in its design choices.

 
 
I don't doubt they are not urban legends in the meat industry, but applying the principles of slicing a piece on meat to swinging a sword is a flawed idea.
 
Sword cutting a is highly stylised and as in a post mentioned above, adjusted by hilts and various designs of blades. In many cuts by a sword no drawing of the blade across what's being hits even occurs and if it does occur it's determined by the style of cut the swordsman chooses to make not the shape of the blade. When a cut is made slicing in the pecking order of the physic science of sword cutting is considered a negligeable factor. The established physical properties of a cut, mentioned above are the main factor in determing the effectiveness of the cut along with the skill of the swordsman. In fact the fact that so few swords are curved enough for slicing to occur to any degree suggests iy may be undesirable, my guess is it will increase resistance so sticking to cutting swings that don't use it best.
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by edgewaters


Differences in terminology aside, when you draw a blade across a surface to separate the material - whatever you want to call that, a curved blade changes the action. I don't know about much about the terminology used by sword hobbyists, but the rest of us say things like "The man chopped wood for an hour, cutting many pieces into a suitable size for his fireplace. Then he went inside and with a few deft slices, filleted his fish, cutting the meat from skin and bone."

I can't talk in the jargon of the sword hobby, nor can many people, but cutting, chopping, and slicing have not deviated from their usage in common English in the above statement, have they? I'm hardly redefining terms here. To say that a machete does not chop is at odds with the entire English language - it chops, in order to cut.
 
 
Unfortuantly there is no correct usage of any of those terms in English and all can be interchanged with one another. Which is why the sword world has adopting a the word cut as a term to describe a controlled, skilled sword blow to destinguish it from all other terms.


Edited by Paul - 30-Jun-2007 at 18:58
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 18:57
Originally posted by Paul

Unfortuantly there is no correct usage of any of those terms in English and all can be interchanged with one another.


So you'd be OK with a doctor who said he was going to chop an incision into you with his scalpel?

Don't be silly. Those words are not interchangeable. Chops and slices are strokes, a cut is a separation or an act of separation. Cut is a broad word describing any separation of material by a variety of means, but you can't chop with a scalpel, and you can't slice a tree down with an axe. Who's redefining terms here?

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 18:58
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 19:02
What's the reply got to do with the quote? I do suggest some more quality control on your reading.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 19:18
Originally posted by Paul

What's the reply got to do with the quote?


It's about as simple as it can get already, I'll try to make it simpler. Chops and slices refer to different kinds of strokes used to achieve a cut, or, if you like, different kinds of cutting strokes. You claimed (in the quote) the terms were interchangeable i.e. synonyms; chop and slice are not synonyms, else no one would be alarmed by a doctor who claimed he was going to "chop" an incision.

A surgeon uses his scalpel to slice, not chop. A scalpel has a curved blade because physics dictates that curved blades perform slicing (or whatever word you want to use in Paulinian English for a cut achieved by drawing rather than striking) better than straight blades, except sometimes he uses a No. 11 blade which is straight for better control in delicate situations.

Furthermore, some swords are used to slice, or whatever equivalent you want to use to describe the act of pusing or pulling the blade across a surface to make a cut rather than striking with the blade to make a cut. An example:

It is a measure of He Jinbao's openness as a teacher that he immediately explained some these concepts for the Sabre to us - for example: Scrape and Chop. Scrape expresses the use of the back edge of the sabre to create a continuous action of interception and diversion of the opponent's weapon, flowing without stop into a counterattack. Chop is a cut with the sabre which uses a long curving trajectory, different from a Hit which withdraws along the same line, or a Slice which uses a pull-cut.

It can be seen therefore that the heart of sabre training lies in these fundamental concepts rather than in the external choreography of any particular form.


http://www.whitemountain-tao.com/html/bigs.html

Slices are also referred to by martial artists as "draw-cuts" or "saber-cuts". The slice is hardly unknown in swordplay, as you erroneously claim.

I do suggest some more quality control on your reading.


Pot, kettle?

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 19:40
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 19:37
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by Paul

What's the reply got to do with the quote?


It's about as simple as it can get already, I'll try to make it simpler. Chops and slices refer to different kinds of strokes used to achieve a cut, or, if you like, different kinds of cutting strokes. You claimed (in the quote) the terms were interchangeable i.e. synonyms; chop and slice are not synonyms, else no one would be alarmed by a doctor who claimed he was going to "chop" an incision.

A surgeon uses his scalpel to slice, not chop. A scalpel has a curved blade because physics dictates that curved blades perform slicing (or whatever word you want to use in Paulinian English for a cut achieved by drawing rather than striking) better than straight blades, except sometimes he uses a No. 11 blade which is straight for better control in delicate situations.

I do suggest some more quality control on your reading.


Pot, kettle?
 
 
You can chop wood or cut wood. Slice something in half or cut something in half.
 
When someone says terms are interchangeable and you interpret it as terms are 100% interchangeable in all instances, that shows fanticism.
 
 
Would you like me to asemble a list of book publishers, magazines, internet sites, schools, university clubs ects.
 
So you can write a letter of complaint to them about their inapropriate use of English?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 19:49
Originally posted by Paul

You can chop wood or cut wood. Slice something in half or cut something in half.


A cut is any separation of material, and both slices and chops can sever things.

Anyway, all this obfuscation is annoying. The heart of this matter is why are swords curved.

If you are as familiar with swords as you seem to be, you know what a "draw cut" and a "pull cut" and they come up frequently in relation to sabers and knives - and the curve plays a role in these sorts of cuts.

And they are not used exclusively with curved blades, either:

Basic Medieval Sword-Fencing Terminology
From primarily German and Italian Masters


Abschneiden - ("cutting aside") in the German systems of long-sword (langenschwert) and later huge two-handers (dopplehänder/bidenhänder) short drawing cuts known also as Schnitt ("slices") called Rakes in English, used at closer distances against the opponent’s forearms and hands, they can be made with both the lead and the back edges


http://www.historicalweapons.com/swordsfencingterminology.html

Rake - Hutton suggests a blow given at the fullest reach, possibly also a "scraping draw" cut, but more likely a drawing slice with the tip as in the German Schnitt

http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Harleian.htm

The physics of the operation of the two types of sword is of direct relevance to how they were used in battle. The curve of a sabre, if it is pronounced enough, allows a slicing blow to be delivered. When the edge of the blade of such as sword encounters a target it moves into and across the surface of the target simultaneously. The lateral movement of the blade within the target multiplies the effect of the blow. In contrast when a straight sword used to cut, it delivers a hacking blow like an axe biting into wood. The relative efficiency of the two types of cut can be illustrated by the outcome of using a carving knife to chop at a cooked joint of meat or using the same knife to slice in the normal manner. There are a number of important results of this phenomenon on sword characteristics. A sword which is curved enough to allow the greatest cutting efficiency will of necessity be too curved to allow the thrust to be made with any appreciable accuracy or effect. If a straight sword is to have any usefulness in cutting, because it has no slicing ability, it has to have a blade of reasonable weight and a point of balance well to the front of the hilt (there is a good reason why an axe has its weight and cutting edge at the end of a long handle). The relatively light bladed rapier, despite portrayals of The Three Musketeers, if used to cut would not usually produce disabling wounds on a person wearing reasonably stout clothing.

http://www.swordforum.com/articles/ams/cavalrycombat.php

Shall we continue?

Edited by edgewaters - 30-Jun-2007 at 20:01
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2007 at 20:27
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by Paul

You can chop wood or cut wood. Slice something in half or cut something in half.


A cut is any separation of material, and both slices and chops can sever things.

Anyway, all this obfuscation is annoying. The heart of this matter is why are swords curved.
 
 
Well I'm not the one guilty of that, I'm not the one insisting my diction is correct and all others are wrong. Perhaps you should accept unlike france there is no English Academy and no correct usage, just common usage.
 
 
 
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