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  1. #11
    IvanV is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    OK, so this thread is now close to 4 years old and "trainee" has probably long since moved on to other concerns. Nonetheless, in the interest of putting this one to its final rest, may I suggest the following grammatical correction?

    "Is John ill? He's lost a lot of weight."
    "Yes, he's rather slender these days. Isn't he?"
    Correcting a correct question tag?
    Slender is the-bad-one-out here.

  2. #12
    Monticello's Avatar
    Monticello is offline Member
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanV View Post
    Correcting a correct question tag?
    Slender is the-bad-one-out here.
    Hi IvanV,

    I hope that I haven't erred by "correcting a correct question tag." But perhaps I'm missing something that you see.

    As I understand it, the original post by "trainee" was asking for corrections to the following tag:
    "Is John ill? He's lost a lot of weight."
    "Yes, he's rather slender these days, isn't he?"
    My previous post provides the following corrections:
    "Is John ill? He's lost a lot of weight."
    "Yes, he's rather slender these days. Isn't he?"
    As I see it, the comma in the original tag is grammatically incorrect since it allows the statement ("Yes, he's rather slender these days.") to be combined with a question ("Isn't he?") within one sentence.

    Replacing the comma with a period, and then capitalizing the first word of the next sentence. i.e., "Isn't", provides the necessary correction here.

  3. #13
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by hashoomer View Post
    He's is the shortened version of HE IS. Here the situation is that he has already lost the weight and so should read; "He has lost a lot of weight"
    EMAIL REMOVED - Send PM to This User Instead
    You're right that "He's" is short for "He is." But it's also short for "He has."

    Both are good contractions.

    I don't see a problem with the two sentences, but the point about slender versus emaciated could be what the teacher is looking for. I think that's the best guess so far.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

  4. #14
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    "Is John ill? He's lost a lot of weight."
    "Yes, he's rather slender these days. Isn't he?"
    Sorry, I can't support this. As one sentence, the speaker is certain, looking for agreement. As two, the speaker is uncertain, looking for disagreement.

    "Yes, he's rather slender these days, isn't he?" means, "Yes, I've noticed it, too."

    By making a new sentence of "Isn't he?" the speaker is wondering whether John really has lost weight. That doesn't really work in this example.

  5. #15
    Monticello's Avatar
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Sorry, I can't support this. As one sentence, the speaker is certain, looking for agreement. As two, the speaker is uncertain, looking for disagreement.

    "Yes, he's rather slender these days, isn't he?" means, "Yes, I've noticed it, too."

    By making a new sentence of "Isn't he?" the speaker is wondering whether John really has lost weight. That doesn't really work in this example.
    Hi Charlie,

    Well, at least I can breathe a sigh of relief over not having corrected an already correct tag!

    I remain unconvinced that splitting the original sentence into two so that it separates a statement from a further question introduces the idea that the speaker is seeking disagreement rather than agreement. Please let me demonstrate by the following example:
    This sentence is correct, isn’t it?
    This sentence is correct. Isn’t it?
    Both sentences will read identically; the comma suggesting a pause, the period a full stop. Immediately after either a pause or full stop comes the question “Isn’t it?”, which in both cases is a question that seeks affirmation.

    I’m not aware of any common English usage where a comma separation, as opposed to a period, would change the meaning of the affirmation seeking question, “Isn’t it?” Are you?

    If so, could you provide some examples from some well-known English writers that would demonstrate your point?

  6. #16
    wargord is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    Hi Charlie,

    Well, at least I can breathe a sigh of relief over not having corrected an already correct tag!

    I remain unconvinced that splitting the original sentence into two so that it separates a statement from a further question introduces the idea that the speaker is seeking disagreement rather than agreement. Please let me demonstrate by the following example:
    This sentence is correct, isn’t it?
    This sentence is correct. Isn’t it?
    Both sentences will read identically; the comma suggesting a pause, the period a full stop. Immediately after either a pause or full stop comes the question “Isn’t it?”, which in both cases is a question that seeks affirmation.

    I’m not aware of any common English usage where a comma separation, as opposed to a period, would change the meaning of the affirmation seeking question, “Isn’t it?” Are you?

    If so, could you provide some examples from some well-known English writers that would demonstrate your point?
    I know this is really late and no one cares by now. Both sentences ask a question. Your first asks if the sentence is correct rhetorically. Your second is questioning it self. That's my input. Thanks for reading.

  7. #17
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Re:
    .
    This sentence is correct, isn’t it?
    This sentence is correct. Isn’t it?

    .
    I don't see how the slightly longer pause in the second sentence conveys any difference in meaning. In both cases, the speaker is looking for affirmation (agreement).



  8. #18
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Re:

    This sentence is correct, isn’t it?
    vs.

    This sentence is correct. Isn’t it?
    .
    I don't see how the slightly longer pause in the second sentence conveys any difference in meaning. In both cases, the speaker is looking for affirmation (agreement).

    I love the evolution of this discussion...

    As a teacher, I don't disagree. As a former (amateur) actor, I would approach the speaking of these lines differently. From the single-sentence line I infer the speaker's uncertainty before speaking the line. From the longer pause the period indicates I interpret that the speaker has only become uncertain after speaking the thought aloud.

    Try it with stage directions:

    Student A (cautiously approaching the teacher, edited paper in tow): "This sentence is correct, isn't it?"
    (The teacher nods.)

    Student B (shooting up his arm, as if to punch a hole through the ceiling, beaming customarily): This sentence is correct. (A small but awkward silence follows. The teacher, having grown weary of the student's constant insistence on being the first to answer, has simply ignored him; it is a small pleasure he allows himself.) Isn't it?

    /first post. thanks!

  9. #19
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: language awareness task question

    Of course, context is always key to understanding any kind of nuance.



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