A "question" was asked recently whose content was basically "I want phrases that meet these parameters":

I want to have examples of sentences containing "preposition + myself/herself/etc" vs "preposition + pronoum + "own"". Thx.

StackOverflow frowns on questions of this sort. Just as SO is not one's personal programmer, it is my opinion that ELL should not be one's personal phrase book. Additionally, there's no one true answer, or even a small class of true answers.

Personally, I would prefer a question be closer to this:

I am in situation X and I need to construct a sentence conveying the concept of Y. I thought of [sentence Z] but it seems off. Is there a better way to get my idea across?

Granted, it's still subjective, but it's more specific.

TL;DR: Do we want context-free sentence requests on ELL?

1 Answer 1


"Give me a bunch of random examples with these vague parameters" is not an acceptable question on any SE site. The question showed no context or research, and was asking for a List of Things with no explained purpose. I've closed the question.

In this case I don't think your rewrite even makes sense; they don't have a sentence trying to get an idea across, they just wanted a list of completely random sentences; it's like a Mad Lib where everything is a blank. Since there is no context (and no idea they're trying to get across; I can't even fathom what they're trying to accomplish), I think the question is pretty much unsalvageable. Though I suppose I can't say for certain unless the OP tries to edit!

  • 1
    You're right that in this case the rewrite makes no sense. I meant it more as a general form of sentence request that could potentially be acceptable. I wanted to make it clear that I'm not against sentence requests in general, just context-free demands. Jun 14, 2013 at 14:29
  • I thought there was a recent question here or on ELU that basically just asked Is there any difference between "I did it by myself" and "I did it on my own" (I can't seem to find it now). If it was on ELU I'd closevote as General Reference. Here on ELL I see nothing wrong with such a question - in fact, I'd probably upvote it. Jun 15, 2013 at 0:11
  • @FumbleFingers Now that you say that, I see that that is probably what the OP was getting at. If the question had indeed been asked that way, I'd agree that it would be worth keeping open. If you'd like to edit it to reflect that and give me a ping, I'd be happy to reopen it.
    – WendiKidd
    Jun 15, 2013 at 0:23
  • I might have taken a bit of a liberty by upvoting the question after effectively "hijacking" it. But if it works out, @sergio might end up getting all the credit. Perhaps he'll work a bit harder on his next question, for the sake of his growing reputation! Anyway, consider yourself "pinged" :) Jun 15, 2013 at 2:13
  • @FumbleFingers: Thanks! I've reopened the question, since your edit has turned the question into something specific enough to be answerable and on-topic for ELL.
    – Matt
    Jun 15, 2013 at 2:26
  • 1
    This is the question FF is remembering. Sergio appears to have done exactly what the comments on that question suggested, namely ask it on ELL instead. Dunno why he decided to make it so much more vague when re-asking it, but thankfully, FF has fixed it.
    – Martha
    Jun 17, 2013 at 17:08

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