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I cannot be touched, but I often touch,
I have no shape or form,
But I can be soft or rough:
Can you guess what I am?

I can be short or long,
but don't always take up space.
I can, however, forever be dwelling
In any human's brain.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify, both stanzas are talking about the same thing, right? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Apr 3 '15 at 11:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, they are about the same thing. $\endgroup$ – miss rarity Apr 3 '15 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say you're abstract concepts though I'm not sure how you dwell forever in any particular mortal humans brain. $\endgroup$ – candied_orange Apr 3 '15 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ I know: you're a Unix shell script (though I'm not quite sure about "soft")! $\endgroup$ – Cary Swoveland Apr 3 '15 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ I don't get Emrakul's idea of deeming the answers below as low quality and locking the question. It seems like I have 101 reputation points and I still can't post an answer. Crap gameplay :| $\endgroup$ – Frédéric Ménez Apr 4 '15 at 15:27

11 Answers 11

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I think you are

Words

I can not be touched, but I often touch

You can be emotionally touched by someone's words

I have no shape or form

Words have no inherent physical existence besides the sound waves transmitting them and physical objects we create to represent them.

But I can be soft or rough

Words can be soft or rough in a very literal sense but this could also be taken as kind words or harsh words.

I can be short or long,

Words can be as short as one character or as long as the longest chemical compound name or other arbitrarily long thing.

but don't always take up space

Words take up physical space when written down or when signs are made but that's not their most common form

I can, however forever be dwelling / In any human's brain.

The words you hear from others or form yourself can stick in your memory for the rest of your life

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  • $\begingroup$ I was very close then! +1 to you. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Apr 3 '15 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Words have no inherent physical existence AND - Words take up physical space are opposites, also 'words' dosnt match with the form the question is asked in, the sentence starts with i not we, so it should be word. $\endgroup$ – Sven van den Boogaart Apr 3 '15 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ @SvenB 1) Please read the entire answer. "Words take up physical space when written down or when signs are made". I.E., a word is a concept that we embody in a written language for the benefit of communication. A concept has no physical form but we also use the term "word" to describe the physical objects representing them as in the statement "Read the words on the sign". 2) The pluralization is a fair enough point but it's not improper to say "I am words" any more than it is improper to say "I am become death." $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Apr 3 '15 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ I am death is valid, dont know where the become comes from ? $\endgroup$ – Sven van den Boogaart Apr 4 '15 at 11:11
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I guess

a memory

I can not be touched, but I often touch

When thinking back of a memory you can get emotional

I have no shape or form

A memory has no shape; it's in the brain

But I can be soft or rough

It can be about a soft event (happy) or rough (a murder)

Can you guess what I am?

A memory

I can be short or long,

A memory can be short or long

but don't always take up space

sometimes you forget one.

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

some memories like a trauma can haunt you forever

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A name

I can not be touched, but I often touch I have no shape or form But I can be soft or rough Can you guess what I am?

While a name has no physical form, people can be touched when called by the right person, and depending on who it is, it can be spoken soft or rough.

I can be short or long, but don't always take up space

Names themselves do not take up space. But when written, they do.

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

Oh how the name of my first loved one still lingers in my brain.

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  • $\begingroup$ A name has a shape, letters form a name.. $\endgroup$ – Sven van den Boogaart Apr 3 '15 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @SvenB following that logic, everything known to humans has a shape, because we have named all we know. But I do not think that this is meant with the riddle. $\endgroup$ – Peter B Apr 3 '15 at 12:19
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I think it's

VOICE.

I can not be touched, but I often touch

It has no physical existence, but you can be emotionally touched by people's words/voice.

I have no shape or form

Again, no physical existence

But I can be soft or rough

Voices are commonly described as a "soft voice" or a "rough voice".

Can you guess what I am?

Yes, but I don't yet know whether I'm right! :-)

I can be short or long,

Possibly a reference to short and long syllables in poetry.

but don't always take up space

Indeed.

I can, however forever be dwelling
In any human's brain.

Voices echoing around your head. Our thoughts are often expressed as internal voices.

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  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't always take up space, but sometimes does. A voice never does. Good thinking nonetheless! $\endgroup$ – miss rarity Apr 3 '15 at 11:38
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Death

I can not be touched, but I often touch

You can't touch death, but death touches people!

I have no shape or form

What's the shape of death?

But I can be soft or rough

It means painful or painless.

Can you guess what I am?

Death

I can be short or long,

It can be instantaneous or incredibly slow.

but don't always take up space

Death doesn't need space

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

There are 2 meanings: humans think about death frequently during their life, also depression can be considered a kind of "alive death".

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2
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I'd say that you're

Stories

I can not be touched, but I often touch

Stories are intangible, but can be very "touching"

I have no shape or form

Again, because it's just a collection of words, it doesn't need a specific shape or form

But I can be soft or rough Can you guess what I am?

Stories can be ascribed qualities such as soft (easy to read/understand) and rough (hard to comprehend or emotionally trying) ...and yes, I can guess what you are ;-)

I can be short or long, but don't always take up space

Short and long stories are still stories, but the actual story need not occupy physical space

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

Come on, we all have stories that we can't forget.

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Personally, given the details of the question, there are many things that can satify the given criteria.

Some of them have been taken in the previous answers:

Name, Memory, Voices, Words

Some more can also be added:

A story, a Sentence etc.

So as long as nothing specific is given that converges towards the actual answer, IMHO I think the puzzle can have many similar answers.

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  • $\begingroup$ The key sentence here is "I don't always take up space." That makes many answers just not completely right, but yes; more answers are possible, however the one I was waiting on is already given. The answer is "words". $\endgroup$ – miss rarity Apr 3 '15 at 12:32
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Guess goes to

Dream

I can not be touched, but I often touch

you can not touched it , its often touch by mind

I have no shape or form

they have no shape

But I can be soft or rough

you see soft (sweet) or rough(dangerous) dream

I can be short or long,

dream is short or long

but don't always take up space

dream not take space in real life

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

its always dwelling in any human's brain

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1
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I think you are

Air

I can not be touched, but I often touch

We generally don't feel the air around us, but when it is windy, air touches us.

I have no shape or form

Well, kind of obvious

But I can be soft or rough

Depends on how windy

Can you guess what I am?

I can be short or long, but don't always take up space

Sometimes wind comes in short blows, sometimes as a sustained force.

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

Some people's heads seem to never absorb anything, and air is synonymous-y with empty. (Maybe a stretch.)

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0
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It could be...

A Look (Sight/ View/ Eye)

I can not be touched, but I often touch

A Look/View can't be touched but the Look/View can touch the object/person being looked at.

I have no shape or form

A Look (in verb sense) has no shape or form, but the result of a look can be an image on the eye/brain?

But I can be soft or rough

The Look can be a soft look or one filled with anger/hate (glare)?

I can be short or long,

A Look (verb sense) can be for a short time (glimpse) or for a long time (stare/gaze)

but don't always take up space

A Look doesn't take up space

I can, however forever be dwelling In any human's brain.

A Look and the image of the look can become a memory in a human's brain.

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0
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I think you are

a song. Songs

cannot be touched but often touch us emotionally. They are intangible but

the medley can be soft or rough.

They vary in length but take up no space.

I get song lyrics stuck in my head all the time. :)

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protected by Aza Apr 3 '15 at 20:44

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