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  1. #1
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    Sentence Anatomy

    Thanks for viewing this topic.

    As the herds cannot be permitted to leave their reserves and encroach on farmland to search for food, the only solution for their survival is to limit their numbers to the grazing potential.

    My question is: what does the infinite phrase to search for food modify? 'encroach'? Or both 'encroach' and 'leave'? I can decide between two possible way of understanding this:


    1) As the herds cannot be permitted to leave their reserves and encroach on farmland to search for food, the only solution for their survival is to limit their numbers to the grazing potential.

    2) As the herds cannot be permitted to leave their reserves and encroach on farmland to search for food, the only solution for their survival is to limit their numbers to the grazing potential.


    Appreciate your reply!
    Last edited by peteryoung; 16-May-2005 at 05:47.

  2. #2
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    Peter, the Great Anatomist!

    I'd say both are fine. It depends on how you parse the sentence. If we view it from the point of linear-order-of-the-word, it modifies "encroach on." Yet, "leave their reserves and encroach on farmland" could be taken as a unit.


    I was a tad shocked when I saw this title. It looked as if you were the butcher.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    Thanks, blacknomi! But did you mean that a readers have to decide for themselves and that there's no fixed rule of it? If ambiguity arises where different interpretations do result in important change in meaning, how would you decide between the two? Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    As the herds cannot be permitted to leave their reserves and encroach on farmland to search for food, the only solution for their survival is to limit their numbers to the grazing potential.
    Here's my take on it:

    Herds don't encroach on farmland to search for food. They leave the reserved area to search for food, thereby encroaching on farmland. And that's what cannot be permitted.

  5. #5
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    Herds don't encroach on farmland to search for food.
    The shepherd does.

  6. #6
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    I get it. Thank you both!

  7. #7
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    Re: Sentence Anatomy

    Thank you, too.

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