Walk into a room, see a chair, and your brain will tell you that you can sit in it, tip it over or lift it up, but you wouldn’t even consider drinking it, promoting it or unlocking it. As humans, explains BYU computer science professor David Wingate, we know intuitively that certain verbs pair naturally with certain nouns, and we also know that most verbs don’t make sense when paired with random nouns.
“Consider the monitor on your desk: you can look at it, you can turn it on, you can even pick it up or throw it, but you cannot impeach it, transpose it, justify it or correct it,” said Wingate. “You can dethrone a king or worship him or obey him, but you cannot unlock him or calendar him or harvest him.”
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