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Thread: sample

  1. #1
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default sample

    From the glass frame hung the half of a comb by a string - but if I had to describe the patriarch or die, I believe I would order some sample coffins.

    What does sample mean here? And why the half of a comb. The half had never been spoken of before.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: sample

    Without knowing the complete context, not possible to say why "half a comb".

    "sample coffins" = examples of the different available coffins.

  3. #3
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: sample

    Here comes the context:
    By the door, inside, was fastened a small old-fashioned looking-glass frame, with two little fragments of the original mirror lodged down in one corner of it. This arrangement afforded a pleasant double-barrelled portrait of you when you looked into ot, with one half of your head set up a couple of inches above the other half. From the glass hung the half of a comb by a string - but if I had to describe that patriarch or die, I believe I would order some sample coffins. It had come down from Esau and Samson, and had been accumulating hair ever since - along with certain impurities.

    I know what sample means, but I can't understand why it was used here. I would not say that in Polish.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: sample

    The half-comb seems to carry through the imagery of the broken mirror,

    If you would not say "sample coffin" in Polish within this passage, you will have to choose your nearest alternative. Sorry. It makes perfect sense in English.

  5. #5
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: sample

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    The half-comb seems to carry through the imagery of the broken mirror,

    If you would not say "sample coffin" in Polish within this passage, you will have to choose your nearest alternative. Sorry. It makes perfect sense in English.
    OK, let's leave this 'sample' thing alone, I am probably not going to get it. The problem with the comb is why it's the half of a comb not a half of a comb.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: sample

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    OK, let's leave this 'sample' thing alone, I am probably not going to get it. The problem with the comb is why it's the half of a comb not a half of a comb.
    It's poetic. Why not "the half of a comb"?

  7. #7
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: sample

    Such 'the' usage sounds unfamiliar to me. Said half is just being introduced, so how can it be one particular half? That's what I was taught - first introduce a thing with 'a' and then refer to the introduced one with 'the'. But now, as I am thinking of it, I find it a little bit less strange, because I found a Polish counterpart of such a reference. In Polish, it's totally rhetorical having diversification of used forms as the only function. Is it so here? Or maybe it's just normal stuff and I should get used to it?

  8. #8
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: sample

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    Such 'the' usage sounds unfamiliar to me. Said half is just being introduced, so how can it be one particular half? That's what I was taught - first introduce a thing with 'a' and then refer to an introduced one with 'the'. But now, as I am thinking of it, I find it a little bit less strange, because I found a Polish counterpart of such a reference. In Polish, it's totally rhetorical having diversification of used forms as the only function. Is it so here? Or maybe it's just normal stuff and I should get used to it?
    As I said it's poetic, rhetorical, if you prefer.

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