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Date:   Tue, 7 Jul 2020 17:48:04 -0400
From:   Arvind Sankar <>
To:     Kees Cook <>
Cc:     "Harrosh, Boaz" <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        ksummit <>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
        LKML <>,
        Chris Mason <clm@...clm>
Subject: Re: [Ksummit-discuss] [PATCH] CodingStyle: Inclusive Terminology

On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 01:54:23AM -0700, Kees Cook wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 06:56:53AM +0000, Harrosh, Boaz wrote:
> > Kees Cook wrote:
> > > I have struggled with this as well. The parts of speech change, and my
> > > grammar senses go weird. whitelist = adjective noun. allow-list = verb
> > > noun. verbing the adj/noun combo feels okay, but verbing a verb/noun is
> > > weird.
> > 
> > > And just using "allowed" and "denied" doesn't impart whether it refers
> > > to a _single_ instance or a _list_ of instances.
> > 
> > > But that's all fine. The change is easy to do and is more descriptive
> > > even if I can't find terms that don't collide with my internal grammar
> > > checker. ;)
> > 
> > But why. In English many times a verb when it comes before the noun means an adjective, or an adjective like, describing some traits of the noun.
> This is kind of my problem being a native English speaker: I can't
> entirely describe _why_ a grammar construct feels wrong. :(
> > Example: 
> > I work - work is a verb here.
> > I used the work bench. - Work is saying something about the type of bench, an adjective. Same as you would say "I used the green bench".
> Right, so the verb-noun being used as a noun is find, just as adj-noun
> is. To me, "add it to the allow-list" is entirely sensible just like
> "set it on the work-bench." It's the "verbing" of a noun that trips me
> up.
> "I will whitelist the syscall" -- sounds correct to me (same for
> "it is whitelisted" or "it is in whitelisting mode").
> "I will allow-list the syscall" -- sounds wrong to me (same for
> "it is allow-listed" or "it is in allow-listing mode").

I suspect it's at least partly because "allow" and "list" are both verbs
-- in fact, "list" is the actual verb in "I will allow-list it", and
"allow" is being used to modify the verb "list". But because "allow" is
usually a verb, the sentence sounds like there are two verbs in there
when there should only be one. I expect our ears will get trained to
accept that sentence once you encounter "allowlist" often enough.

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