Extended With

This module is a container for various English-language linguistic functions for the Linguistics library. It can be either loaded directly, or by passing some variant of :en or :eng to the Linguistics.use method.


# => "boxes"

# => "mice"

# => "rubies"

Indefinite Articles

# => "a book"

# => "an article"

Present Participles

# => "running"

# => "eating"

# => "spying"

Ordinal Numbers

# => "5th"

# => "2004th"

Numbers to Words

# => "five"

# => "two thousand and four"

# => "two trillion, three hundred and eighty-five billion, seven hundred and
#     sixty-two million, three hundred and forty-five thousand, eight hundred
#     and seventy-six"


"cow".en.quantify( 5 )
# => "several cows"

"cow".en.quantify( 1005 )
# => "thousands of cows"

"cow".en.quantify( 20_432_123_000_000 )
# => "tens of trillions of cows"


animals = %w{dog cow ox chicken goose goat cow dog rooster llama pig goat
             dog cat cat dog cow goat goose goose ox alpaca}
"The farm has: " + animals.en.conjunction
# => "The farm has: four dogs, three cows, three geese, three goats, two
#     oxen, two cats, a chicken, a rooster, a llama, a pig, and an alpaca"

Note that 'goose' and 'ox' are both correctly pluralized, and the correct indefinite article 'an' has been used for 'alpaca'.

You can also use the generalization function of the quantify method to give general descriptions of object lists instead of literal counts:

allobjs = []
ObjectSpace::each_object {|obj| allobjs << }
puts "The current Ruby objectspace contains: " +
     allobjs.en.conjunction( :generalize => true )


The current Ruby objectspace contains: hundreds of thousands of Strings,
thousands of RubyVM::InstructionSequences, thousands of Arrays, thousands
of Hashes, hundreds of Procs, hundreds of Regexps, [...], a
SystemStackError, a Random, an ARGF.class, a Data, a fatal, an
OptionParser::List, a YAML::EngineManager, a URI::Parser, a Rational, and
a Gem::Platform


# => "leave"

# => "leave"

# => "ing"


Conjugate a verb given an infinitive:

# => "ran"

# => "run"

# => "run"

# => "running"

Conjugate an infinitive with an explicit tense and grammatical person:

"be".en.conjugate( :present, :third_person_singular )
# => "is"

"be".en.conjugate( :present, :first_person_singular )
# => "am"

"be".en.conjugate( :past, :first_person_singular )
# => "was"

The functionality is a port of the verb conjugation portion of Morph Adorner (

It includes a good number of irregular verbs, but it's not going to be 100% correct everytime.

WordNet® Integration

If you have the 'wordnet' gem installed, you can look up WordNet synsets using the Linguistics interface:

Test to be sure the WordNet module loaded okay.

# => true

Fetch the default synset for the word “balance”

# => #<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb11012f8 {102777100} 'balance' (noun):
#    [noun.artifact] a scale for weighing; depends on pull of gravity>

Fetch the synset for the first verb sense of “balance”

"balance".en.synset( :verb )
# => #<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb10f3fb8 {201602318} 'balance, poise' (verb):
#    [] hold or carry in equilibrium>

Fetch the second noun sense

"balance".en.synset( 2, :noun )
# => #<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb10ebbd8 {102777402} 'balance, balance wheel'
#     (noun): [noun.artifact] a wheel that regulates the rate of movement in a
#     machine; especially a wheel oscillating against the hairspring of a
#     timepiece to regulate its beat>

Fetch the second noun sense's hypernyms (more-general words, like a superclass)

"balance".en.synset( 2, :noun ).hypernyms
# => [#<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb10dd100 {104574999} 'wheel' (noun):
#    [noun.artifact] a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with
#    spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in
#    vehicles or other machines)>]

A simpler way of doing the same thing:

"balance".en.hypernyms( 2, :noun )
# => [#<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb10d24d0 {104574999} 'wheel' (noun):
#    [noun.artifact] a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with
#    spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in
#    vehicles or other machines)>]

Fetch the first hypernym's hypernyms

"balance".en.synset( 2, :noun ).hypernyms.first.hypernyms
# => [#<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb10c5190 {103700963} 'machine, simple machine'
#    (noun): [noun.artifact] a device for overcoming resistance at one point by
#    applying force at some other point>]

Find the synset to which both the second noun sense of “balance” and the default sense of “shovel” belong.

("balance".en.synset( 2, :noun ) | "shovel".en.synset)
# => #<WordNet::Synset:0x7f9fb1091e58 {103183080} 'device' (noun):
#    [noun.artifact] an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose>

Fetch words for the specific kinds of (device-ish) “instruments”

"instrument".en.hyponyms( "device" ).collect( &:words ).flatten.join(', ')
# => "analyser, analyzer, cauterant, cautery, drafting instrument, engine,
#    extractor, instrument of execution, instrument of punishment, measuring
#    device, measuring instrument, measuring system, medical instrument,
#    navigational instrument, optical instrument, plotter, scientific
#    instrument, sonograph, surveying instrument, surveyor's instrument,
#    tracer, arm, weapon, weapon system, whip"

…or musical instruments

"instrument".en.hyponyms( "musical" ).collect( &:words ).flatten.join(', ')
# => "barrel organ, grind organ, hand organ, hurdy-gurdy, hurdy gurdy,
#    street organ, bass, calliope, steam organ, electronic instrument,
#    electronic musical instrument, jew's harp, jews' harp, mouth bow, keyboard
#    instrument, music box, musical box, percussion instrument, percussive
#    instrument, stringed instrument, wind, wind instrument"

There are many more WordNet methods supported–too many to list here. See the WordNet::Synset API documentation for the complete list.

LinkParser Integration

If you have the 'linkparser' gem installed, you can create linkages from English sentences that let you query for parts of speech:

Test to see whether or not the link parser is loaded.

# => true

Diagram the first linkage for a test sentence

puts "he is a big dog".en.sentence.linkages.first.diagram


     |  +----Ds---+
 +-Ss+  |   +--A--+
 |   |  |   |     |
he is.v a big.a dog.n

Find the verb in the sentence

"he is a big dog".en.sentence.verb.to_s
# => "is"

Combined infinitive + LinkParser: Find the infinitive form of the verb of the given sentence.

"he is a big dog".en.sentence.verb.en.infinitive
# => "be"

Find the direct object of the sentence

"he is a big dog".en.sentence.object.to_s
# => "dog"

Combine WordNet + LinkParser to find the definition of the direct object of the sentence

"he is a big dog".en.sentence.object.en.definition
# => "a member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf)
#    that has been domesticated by man since prehistoric times; occurs in many
#    breeds"



The list of loaded modules


The key to set in the thread-hash to indicate it's running in 'classical' mode

Public Class Methods


Return true if running in a 'classical' mode.

# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 385
def self::classical?
        return Thread.current[ THREAD_CLASSICAL_KEY ] ? true : false
has_extension?( name )

Returns true if the English-language module with the given name was successfully registered.

# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 340
def self::has_extension?( name )
        return MODULES.any? do |mod|
       /.*::/, '' ).downcase == name.to_s.downcase
in_classical_mode() { || ... }

Set classical mode for the current thread inside the block, then unset it when it returns.

# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 392
def self::in_classical_mode
        old_setting = Thread.current[ THREAD_CLASSICAL_KEY ]
        Thread.current[ THREAD_CLASSICAL_KEY ] = true

        Thread.current[ THREAD_CLASSICAL_KEY ] = old_setting

A Hash of formatters for the lprintf function.

# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 310
def self::lprintf_formatters
        return @@lprintf_formatters
register_extension( mod )

Register an English-language extension.

# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 316
def self::register_extension( mod )
        MODULES.push( mod )
        self.log.debug "Registered English extension %p" % [ mod ]

        include( mod )
        mod.extend( Loggability )
        mod.log_to( :linguistics )

        if mod.const_defined?( :SingletonMethods )
                smod = mod.const_get(:SingletonMethods)
                self.log.debug "  and its singleton methods %p" % [ smod ]
                extend( smod )

                ivars = mod.instance_variables
                self.log.debug "  and instance variables %p" % [ ivars ]
                ivars.each do |ivar|
                        instance_variable_set( ivar, mod.instance_variable_get(ivar) )
register_lprintf_formatter( name, callback=nil )

Add an lprintf formatter named name that will use the specified callback method. The name of the formatter is the placeholder that will be used in the format string, and the callback is the method to call on the english-language inflector for the lprintf argument, and can either be an object that responds to call, or the name of a method to call as a Symbol.

Using a Symbol:

def plural( count=2 )
    # return the plural of the inflected object
Linguistics::EN.register_lprintf_formatter :PL, :plural

Using a method:

Linguistics::EN.register_lprintf_formatter :PL, method( :plural )

Using a block:

Linguistics::EN.register_lprintf_formatter :PL do |obj|
# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 376
def self::register_lprintf_formatter( name, callback=nil )
        raise LocalJumpError, "no callback or block given" unless callback || block_given?
        callback ||=

        @@lprintf_formatters[ name ] = callback.to_proc

Public Instance Methods

lprintf( *args )

Format the given fmt string by replacing %-escaped sequences with the result of performing a specified operation on the corresponding argument, ala Kernel.sprintf.



%A, %AN

Prepend indefinite article.


Zero-quantified phrase.


Convert a number into the corresponding words.



# File lib/linguistics/en.rb, line 419
def lprintf( *args )
        return self.to_s.gsub( /%([A-Z_]+)/ ) do |match|
                op = $1.to_s.upcase.to_sym
                if (( callback = Linguistics::EN.lprintf_formatters[op] ))
                        arg = args.shift
               arg.en )
                        raise "no such formatter %p" % [ op ]