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  1. #1
    QQFarmer is offline Newbie
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    Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Hey guys, I got a paragraph here taken from The Conquest of Happiness By Bertrand Russell. My question is, is the word "as" in the highlighted part of the sentence really necessary? There are altogether 3 "as" in the paragraph. I'm asking about the 2nd "as". Thank you.



    Can it be that this is just a typo, a mistake made by the publisher? Can somebody that has the book verify this?
    Last edited by QQFarmer; 29-Jun-2010 at 00:28.

  2. #2
    QQFarmer is offline Newbie
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Yeah I perfectly understand what you are trying to say but doesn't he have to be at least grammatical in his writings? I mean could you take a closer look at the paragraph? Don't you think the second "as" looks a little out of place? What is it there for?

  3. #3
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Quote Originally Posted by QQFarmer View Post
    Hey guys, I got a paragraph here taken from The Conquest of Happiness By Bertrand Russell. My question is, is the word "as" in the highlighted part of the sentence really necessary? There are altogether 3 "as" in the paragraph. I'm asking about the 2nd "as". Thank you.

    Can it be that this is just a typo, a mistake made by the publisher? Can somebody that has the book verify this?
    I don't see any problem either.


    I found some interesting quotes on the Internet from authors other than Bertrand Russel, take a look:

    Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
    Psalms (ch. XXXIX, v. 5)

    Reading without thinking is as nothing, as a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes one think.
    Louis L'Amour

    The mighty future is as nothing, being everything! the past is everything, being nothing!

    Charles Lamb

    But the number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and these often suffer greatly without any moral improvement.
    Charles Darwin

  4. #4
    QQFarmer is offline Newbie
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    I just got a feeling that "as" here should be replaced by "like". Just a feeling though. It is said in some grammar books that "as" shouldn't be used on its own before a noun or pronoun in comparisons. "Like" should be used instead.

    Thank you guys for answering my question. I guess established is as good as grammatical.
    Last edited by QQFarmer; 29-Jun-2010 at 01:54.

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Quote Originally Posted by QQFarmer View Post
    Hey guys, I got a paragraph here taken from The Conquest of Happiness By Bertrand Russell. My question is, is the word "as" in the highlighted part of the sentence really necessary? There are altogether 3 "as" in the paragraph. I'm asking about the 2nd "as". Thank you.



    Can it be that this is just a typo, a mistake made by the publisher? Can somebody that has the book verify this?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, QQ Farmer.

    (1) I, too, want to know the answer. I have read the replies

    with great interest.

    (2) I do not think it was a typo.

    (3) I do not think the great Mr. Russell made a mistake. He came from

    the upper classes and had an excellent education.

    (4) I could not find an explanation in my books. So I have only one

    guess. And that guess is probably wrong. But I wonder whether the

    extra "as" is simply a matter of ellipsis. That is:

    The boredom that a person feels doing uninteresting work is as

    [if it were] nothing in comparison with the boredom one feels when

    one has nothing to do.

    ***** Thank you *****

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    An excellent answer as usual, Parser. I couldn't have put it better.

    QQFarmer, You'll just have to accept that as nothing is just fine.

    I'm surprised you actually noticed three ASs in that paragraph. They're widely spaced, each appears in a different collocation and are in no way obtrusive.

    I struggled to find them even when you'd told me they were there.

    A great writer can make mistakes, but he'll have proofreaders and copy editors to correct his text before it goes into print.

    I admire your thirst for knowledge, but in this case the writer's English is impeccable.

    Rover

  7. #7
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Quote Originally Posted by QQFarmer View Post
    Yeah I perfectly understand what you are trying to say but doesn't he have to be at least grammatical in his writings? I mean could you take a closer look at the paragraph? Don't you think the second "as" looks a little out of place? What is it there for?
    You have presumably not met the form of words 'as nothing' which - as TP suggests - means 'as [if it were] nothing'. The form of words is quite archaic; not everyone uses it. But it's not ungrammatical, and it's not a typo.

    b

  8. #8
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Can great writers make mistakes too?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    You have presumably not met the form of words 'as nothing' which - as TP suggests - means 'as [if it were] nothing'. The form of words is quite archaic; not everyone uses it. But it's not ungrammatical, and it's not a typo.

    b
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thank you, sir, for the confirmation of my guess.

    Mr. Russell was writing many years ago, so I can imagine that such

    beautiful prose among his peers was quite common. It certainly

    sounds nicer than without the "as." Until the original poster asked,

    I had never thought about this matter. It's great how English learners

    force us to better understand our own language.

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