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  1. #1
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    Default Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    It is for this reason that we shall concentrate, [...], on the SIMPLE SENTENCE (ie the sentence consisting of a single independent clause) as the most central part of grammar. We shall use the term MULTIPLE SENTENCE (subsuming complex and compound sentences) for all sentences which consist of more than one clause, either through subordination or through coordination. Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined, in practice, wherever grammatical relations (such as those of subordination and coordination) cannot be established between clauses.
    (A comprehensive grammar of the English language)

    I can't quite understand the part in bold.

    It seems to me that what the authors say is that the English sentence can consist of one or more than one clause unless there are relations of subordination or coordination. But this, in my humble opinion, does not accord with what has just been said above of what they should call 'simple' and 'multiple' sentence.

    Or, do they suggest that if there are several clauses between which grammatical relations cannot be established these very clauses are defined as sentences?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    It is for this reason that we shall concentrate, [...], on the SIMPLE SENTENCE (ie the sentence consisting of a single independent clause) as the most central part of grammar. We shall use the term MULTIPLE SENTENCE (subsuming complex and compound sentences) for all sentences which consist of more than one clause, either through subordination or through coordination. Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined, in practice, wherever grammatical relations (such as those of subordination and coordination) cannot be established between clauses.
    (A comprehensive grammar of the English language)

    I can't quite understand the part in bold.

    It seems to me that what the authors say is that the English sentence can consist of one or more than one clause unless there are relations of subordination or coordination.
    No. A sentence can contain more than one clause only if there are relations of subordination or coordination.
    " ... the English sentence cannot consist of more than one clause unless there are relations of subordination or coordination."

    But this, in my humble opinion, does not accord with what has just been said above of what they should call 'simple' and 'multiple' sentence.

    Or, do they suggest that if there are several clauses between which grammatical relations cannot be established these very clauses are defined as sentences?

    Thanks.
    If you can't establish "grammatical relations of subordination or coordination" in a multiple clause "sentence", then it's not a sentence.

    Note that this doesn't make the separate clauses sentences. "I went to the city, why I was fired from my job". This is a multiple clause non-sentence. That doesn't make "why I was fired from my job" a sentence.
    Last edited by Raymott; 23-Sep-2011 at 11:06.

  3. #3
    suprunp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    Thank you, Raymott!
    The implied meaning is understood.
    May I ask you one additional question to be sure I've worked out the structure of the sentence?

    Are the following examples possible?

    Thus the limits of our galaxy are defined wherever the stars cannot be attracted by the black hole which is located at its centre.

    Thus the limits of our proficiency in language are defined wherever new communications (via written or spoken language) cannot be established.


    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    Thank you, Raymott!
    The implied meaning is understood.
    May I ask you one additional question to be sure I've worked out the structure of the sentence?

    Are the following examples possible?

    Thus the limits of our galaxy are defined wherever the stars cannot be attracted by the black hole which is located at its centre.

    Thus the limits of our proficiency in language are defined wherever new communications (via written or spoken language) cannot be established.

    Thanks.
    I don't like either of those sentences. But I don't like the original much either.
    To me, the "limits" of X can't be defined simply by describing something that is not-X. The idea of a limit is that something is X on one side of the limit and not-X on the other side.

    Thus the limits of our galaxy are defined wherever the stars cannot be attracted by the black hole which is located at its centre.
    This is understandable, but it's not good English. (It's possibly not good in any language, if the concept of 'limit' is in focus. But I understand that it's the concept of "our galaxy" that is the topic, so some people would pass it as correct enough.)
    But it's describing what is not part of our galaxy. A place in another galaxy fits that definition, but has nothing to do with the limits of our galaxy. I'd try to express it more like this:
    Thus the limits of our galaxy are at that distance from the black hole at our galaxy's centre where the stars cease to be attracted back by the black hole.

    I'll let you fix the other sentence if necessary. Maybe "limit" should be dispensed with?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I'll let you fix the other sentence if necessary. Maybe "limit" should be dispensed with?
    Thank you, Raymott.

    I was trying to follow the pattern of the original sentence which was quite tricky to comprehend as my understanding of the 'limits' seems to be similar to yours, and this, I suppose, led to the wrong suggestion that not-X (the impossibility of establishing grammatical relations) was X (although the context indicates clearly otherwise).

    If I have understood you right the main point is that it's not good English, so I will dispense with using this kind of construction as a means of expressing my thoughts altogether.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thus the limits of the English sentence are defined

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    If I have understood you right the main point is that it's not good English, so I will dispense with using this kind of construction as a means of expressing my thoughts altogether.
    Good idea.

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