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Thread: Churchill

  1. #11
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Like freezeframe, I don't understand the grammar of the quote. I would understand it if it were either

    People do not like defeat and they do not like the explanations, however elaborate or plausible, which are given to them.

    or

    People do not like defeat and they do not like the explanations, however elaborate or plausible, which are given of it.

    As it is, it doesn't make sense to me. "Them" cannot stand for "defeat", because "defeat" is singular. "Them" cannot stand for "people" either, because it's not people who are said to be explained.

  2. #12
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Them references "explanations."

  3. #13
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Them references "explanations."
    What does "which" reference?

  4. #14
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    What does "which" reference?
    My mistake. "Them" refers to defeat. Which refers to the explanations.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Churchill

    My apologies. I did not realise what freezeframe was referring to when she wrote, "But now that I reread it, it hurts my brain. Is he treating "defeat" as plural?" As a result, I really thought she was pulling my leg when she wrote, ""Explanations which are given of/for explanations?" This would clearly be weird.

    I made the same mistake as the writer - I thought the meaning was clear -

    "Defeat is bitter. There is no use in trying to explain defeat. People do not like defeat and they (=people) do not like the explanations, however elaborate or plausible, which (=explanations) are given of them (=defeats)."

    The writer made a jump from uncountable 'defeat' to plural 'defeats' without allowing for it. This sort of thing is common in speech, where it often goes unremarked; good writers try to avoid it.

    So, I admit that the writer made a mistake, and that I did not spot it. I have to say that I am still puzzled that others failed to see what the writer intended. The writer understood it; I did (so readily that I did not spot the mistake); SoothingDave understood it after a hiccup; I am guessing that bhai understood it; yet others appeared baffled.
    Last edited by 5jj; 27-Apr-2011 at 21:45. Reason: typo. What a surprise

  6. #16
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    I'll give Churchill some slack.

  7. #17
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    The intended meaning was clear to me too. (I'm not sure how readily -- I don't remember.)

    PS: I believe the problem with understanding must have been caused by mistaking "of" for "to".
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 27-Apr-2011 at 21:49.

  8. #18
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    "Defeat is bitter. There is no use in trying to
    explain defeat. People do not like defeat
    and they do not like the explanations,
    however elaborate or plausible, which are
    given of them."
    Q: What does "them" stand for? Thanks.

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


    (1) All the posters have done a brilliant job in explaining this. And thank

    you for for the great question.

    (2) Apparently Sir Winston -- if he wanted to observe the rules -- should

    have written:

    People do not like defeat, and they do not like the explanations, which

    are given of it.

    OR

    People do not like defeats, and they do not like the explantions, which

    are given of them.

    (3) As you may know, Sir Winston failed his English class and had to

    repeat it. He said that he was glad that he was forced to do so.

    If anyone wants a model of clear, concise, and vigorous English, s/he

    should carefully study Sir Winston's writings. His style shows the

    glory of the English language.

  9. #19
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I have to say that I am still puzzled that others failed to see what the writer intended. The writer understood it; I did (so readily that I did not spot the mistake); SoothingDave understood it after a hiccup; I am guessing that bhai understood it; yet others appeared baffled.
    I congratulate you and your equals on the impressive acuity the rest of us lack.

    But, understanding what the writer meant doesn't make the sentence as such make sense. This is, after all, a forum for discussing English grammar...

  10. #20
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Churchill

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I feel a certain tension in my leg, as though somebody is trying to extend its length. However, soft-hearted and gullible as ever, I will try:

    Not: explanations of/for explanations, but:

    ex-plan-a-tions of de-feat or
    ex-plan-a-tions for de-feat.

    These (ex-plan-a-tions) are giv-en to peo-ple.
    The peo-ple do not like t-h-e-m (the ex-plan-a-tions)..

    Thanks for the sarcasm. Not everyone can be as smart as you. Next time, keep it to yourself.

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