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    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #1

    Verbs and their objects

    A literary review by a respected British journalist and obituary writer of an official biography of Britain's Queen Mother and published yesterday in London's main evening newspaper, began with this paragraph:

    The threat facing all royal biographers is that they will end up producing not so much a book as constructing a literary mausoleum.

    I'm not impressed. The above sentence appears to have a fundamental flaw. Either one word should be moved or another deleted. Does anyone else agree? Can you explain what is wrong?

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Verbs and their objects

    I agree it's poorly constructed. After 'producing not so much' + a noun, we expect a comma and another noun. Using not so much as a partitive after producing requires this. Changing the gerund to 'producing' at this point destroys the dichotomy set up.


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    #3

    Re: Verbs and their objects

    Thanks for that reply.

    If I'd been writing/editing that passage it would have read:

    The threat facing all royal biographers is that they will end up producing not so much a book as constructing a literary mausoleum.

    OR

    The threat facing all royal biographers is that they will end up producing not so much producing a book as constructing a literary mausoleum.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Verbs and their objects

    Exactly what I would have written, either the former or the latter, not what they had. Lousy editing, if you ask me.

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