(today's) “To Do”

By Xah Lee. Date:

• make a list of to dos
(note here that the term “to do” is a interesting English phreasology. “to do” here is used as a noun. It means “task list”. But nobody would say the actually more explicit “Task List”. To explain this situation with clarity takes some non-trivial thinking… To Do gives a sense of urgency and context. One reason of popularity of To Do is because its meaning is brainlessly apparent. Compare: To DO versus Task List. The latter is quite abstract, while the former is explicit with the “DO”, who's immediate semantic reaction upon readers is “WHAT?”, signifying SOMETHING, which gives away the phrase's meaning.
A auxiliary reason is perhaps because precisely it being a unusual construct. (of course, now it is common called a “prototypical usage”) To Do would normally be i think a auxiliary verb, as in [someone IS] To Do [something]. But by using it like a noun to mean Task List, the listener has to pay attention because of the novel usage, therefore it is more effective in communication as if a emphasis is placed on it. (such as some odd jargons that serve the purpose of getting the reader to notice and remember it)
So, for these reasons particularly the first, To Do is the de facto usage, and to say the more semantically logical yet artificially constructed Task List would be rather odd.

• wash my car, put on the registration sticker, shower.
(note: shower is placed here instead of a separate item because i'd wash the car first, then wash myself, as if a single task. Of course, if i'm a girl in summer i might do it in one setting, to the benefit of men and the girl…)

• do one article of my Tree article.
(for those uninitiated towards the intimacies of my personal life… this means editing one of a series of articles i wrote in 1998 on a subject of computer science (on tree)… which i have cleaned up and placed on my website, but needs more editing for a more general audience to fit my current vision of making a several languages implementations…)

• OK, send out my daily a Word a Day, a-Lojban-a-Day, and possibly fulfill my long hiatus of a Python a Day, and a Java a Day. I REALLY have accomplished a lot teachings here.

• Oh yeah, write my Periodic Dosage diary.

• Many important things. But I DON'T WANT TO. (for those uninitiated… i'm in a deep personal trauma… haven't recovered in 2 years… oh well as far as psychological trauma goes, i'm a victim of my parents. I have suffered great sufferages, and i ran into mid life crisis… why didn't somebody tell me about mid life crises? I'm all fcked.)

• pmcdncb. I DON'T WANT TO.

• crpnst. OK, i'll do this. Possibly later in the day.

• gosg. I'M STILLL YOUNG.

• dmpw. I DON'T WANT TO.

• xyz. THERE IS ALWAYS TOMORROW.

• Rule the world. TOMORROW.

Addendum: the discussion about “to do” is just a linguistical ethological guess, with no etymology basis.

2005-09