Murphy’s law.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Lucretia, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. Lucretia Senior Member

    Russian
    Hello,
    When I want to find something in a stack of papers, the necessary one is often the last or penultimate. It seems to be the case in roughly 70 or 80 % of such and similar situations.
    At the bus stop for No7, 10, and 15, by the same token, the 7 you need will be the last to come; on the day you need the 10 there will be a lot of sevens and fifteens.
    Do you say By Murphy’s law there were only sevens and fifteens?
    Thank you.
     
  2. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    As per Murphy's law, maybe?
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    That strikes the right tone. Murphy's Law is to be referred to with mock-seriousness. It's hard to give a good example, but here are some personal comments on slightly different usages:

    ... on the day you need the 10, by Murphy's Law there will be a lot of sevens and fifteens.
    Appears to be considering Murphy's Law as something genuine. It sounds like something from a mathematical proof.

    ... on the day you need the 10, as per Murphy's Law there will be a lot of sevens and fifteens.
    I like this because the as per sets the reference apart much better than the mundane use of by.

    ... on the day you need the 10 there will be a lot of sevens and fifteens, Murphy's Law.
    I like this because the reference to Murphy's Law is a throw-away remark, an aside.
     
  4. sparkle814 Senior Member

    New York
    English, United States
    Yeah, whenever I talk about Murphy's law, it's always said in a very careless, joking manner.
    "Of course on the day of the big meeting, everythign went wrong. I couldn't find my keys, the dog piddled on my favorite shoes, and while I was waiting for the 10, about a hundred 7's and 15's went by. That's Murphy's law for ya, isn't it?"
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As an aside, I would consider Murphy's Law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong - to apply more readily to sparkle's loss of keys and piddling dog than to the buses. I mean, everyone knows that this feature is programmed into the bus companies' scheduling processes.

    It would, on the other hand, be a good example of the application of Murphy's Law if in those circumstances you were standing at a bus stop watching a 7, 10 and 15 approach when a gang of robbers rush out of a bank and hijack the #10 as a getaway vehicle.
     
  6. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    While the companies' schedule is carefully programmed, your own schedule may not be. I mean, if it was not for Murphy's law, you could be careless and lucky. :)
     
  7. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Another way:
    According to Murphy's law, a sandwitch has no choice but to fall buttered side down.
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Indeed, but that is Panji's Lemma, an adjunct to Murphy's Law that is rarely stated in public for fear that its magic may diminish.
    Anything that absolutely must go right will go right.
    This is often enabled through the application of Murphy's Law and a post hoc realisation that right a priori and right a posteriori are not the same.

    Dexter a priori sinister a posteriori est.
    ... which translates to:
    Half the time you don't know what's good for you.
     
  9. Lucretia Senior Member

    Russian
    Thank you all. I wonder how frequent is mentioning Murphy's law at all. There may be another, more common way to express the idea of being not too lucky.
     

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