Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Englishn00b is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Hard Time reading this Sentence

    "At the same time, the housing crash and the stock-market meltdown erased, conservatively speaking, about thirteen trillion dollars in household wealth. Given the well-known wealth effect -- people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa -- that alone would translate into an expected drop in personal spending of between five hundred and seven hundred billion dollars."
    Will consumer spending really stay down? : The New Yorker

    I have a hard to comprehending the bold sentence.
    What is the "--" called? I know it means that somehow the sentences are connected, but could you illustrate to me how the sentences relate?
    Does "that" correspond to "people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa" or "wealth effect?"
    Why would you put a comma after "richer?"

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,659
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Hard Time reading this Sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Englishn00b View Post
    "At the same time, the housing crash and the stock-market meltdown erased, conservatively speaking, about thirteen trillion dollars in household wealth. Given the well-known wealth effect -- people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa -- that alone would translate into an expected drop in personal spending of between five hundred and seven hundred billion dollars."
    Will consumer spending really stay down? : The New Yorker

    I have a hard to comprehending the bold sentence.
    What is the "--" called? I know it means that somehow the sentences are connected, but could you illustrate to me how the sentences relate?
    Does "that" correspond to "people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa" or "wealth effect?"
    Both. "people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa" is the "wealth effect". That is partly what the sentence is saying.

    Why would you put a comma after "richer?"
    It's optional here. People don't get richer and vice versa. So the comma offsets 'richer' (which they do get) from 'vice versa' (which they don't get.

    Thank you.
    '--' is a dash, often typed as '-' since the western 101 keyboard doesn't include a proper dash. It's similar to brackets in this case - it's a parenthesis.

    I think 'vice versa' is used incorrectly here.
    people's tendency to spend more when they get richer, and vice versa
    What they've written (with 'vice versa') is: "and people tend to get richer when they spend more".
    What they probably mean is: "and people tend to spend less when they are poor".

    You can remove a parenthetical phrase/clause, and still get a complete sentence:
    Given the well-known wealth effect, that alone would translate into an expected drop in personal spending of between five hundred and seven hundred billion dollars.


    This means:
    That alone (the wealth effect alone) would translate into an expected drop ...
    Basically it means "People are now poorer, and that would mean a drop in personal spending".


Similar Threads

  1. pyramid structure of sentence
    By ohmyrichard in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-Nov-2008, 01:19
  2. a sentence hard to understand
    By xiaoerlang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Sep-2008, 06:01
  3. present perfect with once
    By e2e4 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 11-Jul-2008, 13:14
  4. such a hard time
    By Teia in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-Jan-2008, 21:31
  5. Sentence Order - Time Location etc.
    By StaceyJ in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Nov-2006, 14:43

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •