Saturday Is For Things and Stuff

Can’t play today; I’m busy trying to finish up a writing project, and then I have things to do and stuff to take care of. Or is it stuff to do and things to take care of? I always get the two confused.

Which brings us to today’s poll to keep you amused whilst I am away:

As always, feel free to explain your vote in the comments.

70 thoughts on “Saturday Is For Things and Stuff

  1. Things are interesting and can be studies and understood.

    Stuff is less interesting and tends to make you feel stuffed and when you are stuffed you are full and bloaty and that is a bad feeling.

    Therefore I always prefer things….

  2. Things, obviously. Things are cool. Let us compare.

    Things: memes (“is that a thing?”), monsters (“there’s some thing out there!”), Cthulhu (a “Thing”), etc.

    Stuff: navel fluff, work (“stuff to do”), contents of stuffed toys, etc.

  3. “Things” implies material objects, or at least designated tasks. “Stuff” could be anything from a pile of toys to sitting and daydreaming. “I have stuff to do.” Precise language is wonderful, but sometimes imprecision is useful ;-)

  4. Stuff always comes up as a verb in my brain, and conjures up images of roasted turkeys. Or pillows.

  5. Who are these idiots voting for “things” over “stuff?” Everyone with half a brain knows “stuff” is better! They’re just like Hitler!

  6. I voted for things. Because I take the things that concern or interest me from the stuff around me, and then ignore the rest of the stuff.

  7. @josh. Cats are clearly things. One of many reasons why things are vastly superior to stuff.

  8. Wait just a gosh darn minute, John.
    I just read an article that included these estimates;
    A former Google Ceo estimates the sum total of human knowledge, by 2003, at 5 exabytes.
    Cisco estimates that internet traffic will reach 966 exabytes by 2015.
    I probably made one more comment than I wanted too, about the ebook thing. I don’t think any spouse of any candidate should be political fodder. If there are any circular debates going on, I don’t even want to look, and sure as hell would not jump in.
    966 compared to 5.
    That’s an awful lot of porn and cat videos John.
    My Saturday is free, compared to a chock full Sunday.
    So if you’re out “living you life” what do I do?
    Oh, wait, there’s this giant pile of unread books.
    Nevermind

  9. Things are undeniably useful, and I’m fond of things – but stuff has things beat all hollow, on account of “stuff” being not only a noun but also a verb.

    Similarly, I’ve enjoyed being stuffed at various banquets with friends or family, but I don’t even know what being thinged would mean, and I refuse to speculate in a family-friendly comments section. On the other hand, people who have worn out the patience of their interlocutor may, in none too friendly a fashion, be invited to get stuffed …

  10. Cats are neither “things” nor “stuff”. As the ad for Bertha’s Kitty Boutique says,

    Oh, if you keep a cat, or keep two or three,
    You know that cats are creatures just like you and me.
    And have needs, as we do, and if they could speak,
    They’d say, “I need some stuff from Bertha’s Kitty Boutique.”

    “Stuff” is what cats need.

  11. You can do things with things. Stuff just kinda… sits there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have some stuff around, but things have more purpose. I guess I’m just a little too utilitarian to truly appreciate stuff.

  12. Things is more formal and the British are more likely to say it. Stuff is something you use with friends and has the potential to sound funny. Although ‘Stuff’ is more fun, my vote is for ‘Things.’

  13. Honest now, folks: which movie would you rather see? “The Thing” or “The Stuff”? (Ha!)

    Which Lovecraft story would you rather read — “The Thing on the Doorstep” or “The Stuff on the Doorstep”? The stuff would probably be passably rugose, necrophageous viridian stuff, but still. Stuff is not scary, except insofar as it tells you it has been left there by a properly terrifying Thing.

    Not that I expect my eloquent persuasion to be accepted by the intolerant, doctrinaire, non-reasonable-nomenclature-based stuff-fanatics infesting this very thread. Stuff-lovers are the circle-squarers of the general moniker community, and properly addressed with pejoratives.

  14. We seem to prefer to be stuffed rather than thinged, by early poll numbers.

    my cats refused to attack either the sample thing or sample stuff until I poured catnip on both. Now the 32 pounder has the thing under the couch, the 16-year-old mangled the stuff, and the other three are rolling in the excess catnip.

    I suggested to my wife that we continue the experiment with leeches but she elbowed me and mumbled something rude about Hugo nominators…

  15. why didn’t ya include a “other stuff and things” option? Slacking off in your old age (and i’m a bit older then you Mr. Scalzi).?

  16. Things tend to be boring, but Stuff — now Stuff I can wax eloquent on! Stuff holds my attention. And, as stated earlier, +1 for the Carlin reference!

  17. Things are a responsibility – you must clean all the things. Stuff is just awesome – the stuff of legend.

  18. Stuff, but my aunt’s favorite general name for anything or anyone she couldn’t recall the name for was ‘whatchacall’ as in “You remember ‘whatchacall’ who used to live down the street?”

  19. STUFF wins, of course. It’s so good, they put twice as much of it in Oreos.

    THINGS do nothing for me.

  20. Stuff, of course. I love stuff. I buy a lot of stuff. Probably more stuffs than I should :/

  21. My H.S. friends had a running joke about “I like stuff.” Basically, one friend convinced another to go to the junior prom with a girl that he didn’t know very well at all. She wanted to go with Friend One, who was dating someone else anyway, and so Friend One figured it would be a good idea to set up Friend Two with her instead. Despite the best intentions, their conversation the entire night could be summarized up in her expressing in a squeaky voice “I like stuff.”

  22. I voted for “things”. This isn’t a particularly strongly-held conviction. I had a middle-school English teacher who disallowed the use of the word “stuff” in this manner. Apparently this rubbed off on me for some reason.

  23. Things are countable and stuff is collective so I went with stuff. That way when I don’t finish my stuff, I can’t count how much exactly I didn’t do.

  24. For me, I couldn’t vote one way or the other. Things and Stuff are inexticably linked.

  25. Stuff. I’m with Suzanne. No matter how many things you have, you can always refer to them collectively as stuff. And that soothes my inner hoarder – I just have “some stuff,” not “x number of things.”

  26. Your stuff doesn’t have tentacles? You’ve got boring stuff. My stuff has tentacles *and* lasers.

  27. A thing comes out from under the compost pile and has a lot of legs.

    Stuff is what you have to find room in your house for. Also, you can make a ball gown out of it.

  28. Sometimes, I feel like a thing. Something whole in itself. Sometimes, I feel like stuff, like the stuff in something. Stuff is part(s) of a greater whole.
    When applied to John Scalzi:
    The OMW trilogy is a thing.
    Zoe’s Tale is stuff, leftover might-as-well-make-a-buck-on-it filler.
    Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 is stuff, obviously.
    TGE is stuff in guise of a thing, a long short story marketed as a $9.99 book.
    TSWOTND is stuff, tinkerings and cogs clunking around in his skull. I’d be a shame if a better short story lost because of Scalzi’s popularity with Hugo voters.
    Fuzzy Nation is stuff, remnants from his childhood.
    Red Shirts sounds like a thing, fingers crossed.

    John Scalzi (the author) is a thing with lots of stuff on his mind.

  29. Stuff is the new Junk but the thingists here can’t expand their conciousness to contain that.

  30. Things, for all the reasons stated above. Especially this: Ron Mitchell says April 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm “I voted for things. Because I take the things that concern or interest me from the stuff around me, and then ignore the rest of the stuff.”

    Too much stuff clamoring for my attention makes me anxious.

  31. To my mind Things implies actual physical objects. Stuff is more versatile and all encompassing. Stuff can include the non-physical, emotions, ideas etc.

  32. This is a more interesting question than you may imagine. Quite a few years ago, I enjoyed a glass ow wine with a German chemical engineer who had moved into management consulting. He pointed out that there was a substantial distinction in the German language between Stoffe (stuff) and Dingen (things). Most of the companies he dealt with, given his chemistry background, were in Stoffe businesses – making substances sold by volume, not by count. And one of his central points was that firms good at Stoffe would usually struggle in a Dingen business. The R&D is different, the cost accounting is different, the key manufacturing technologies are different. So the distinction between stuff and things can be decidedly non-trivial. Unlike my friend from that long-ago evening, I’m a mechanical guy by training, so I voted for “things.”

  33. “In math we’re often interested in equipping things with extra structure, stuff, or properties, and people are often a little vague about what these mean. For example, a groupis a set (stuff )…”
    [http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/math/pdf/0608/0608420v2.pdf#page=17]

    “… from the point of view of its underlying set, an abelian group is a set with the property that it is inhabited and the structure of an abelian group but no additional stuff….”
    http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/stuff,+structure,+property

  34. Having read the above references, I became arguably the only high school and middle school public school yeacher in America who told students:

    “Mathematics is only about three things:
    (1) Stuff;
    (2) Structures of Stuff;
    (3) Properties of Structures of Stuff (usually expressed with equations.”

    I also told them:
    “In its heart of hearts, Mathematics is only about three things:
    (1) Quantity;
    (2) Structure;
    (3) Change.”

    This is deep, rather than glib. Very few secondary scfhool math teachers are professional mathematicians, hencer very few even know what Mathematics really is, let alone how to teach it.

    Teaching Science via Science Fiction is also fun, as my wife and I have verified, but easier to teach, because of videos and films…

  35. Neither. They encourage a laziness in both thought and speech that is contributing to the collapse of Western Civilization.

  36. Things are tidy, even if you have all of them. A place for every THING, and every THING in its place, you know. Stuff is sticky and messy and gets in the carpet.

  37. I did not vote, because, although I don’t want to seem scatological or anything, I prefer sh*t.

    I’ve got sh*t to do. I’ve got sh*t to take care of. And, of course, when that’s all done, I’ll have my sh*t together, which is one of the highest aspirations of mankind. Neither things nor stuff can measure up to that.

  38. “stuff” are those gifts from your strange aunt that are hideous and you hide in the back of your closet hoping she never comes for a visit so you don’t have to pull them out.

    “things” are Star Wars action figures that you display in dioramic scenes all over your desk at work and every open shelf space at home (at the same time keeping a mint unopened copy safely tucked away in storage).

  39. I chose stuff, just because I’ve got stuff to do. I don’t do things anymore. I did once and got some kind of thing on my thing. So, stuff it is.

  40. Saturday is not for stuff and things. er things n stuff.. Saturday is for DC universe online. Sunday is for thangs and Stuffs.. *grin*

  41. Things! Largely because you can say “thingie things”, which is what one of the pages on Eddie Izzard’s website used to be called.

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