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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default As schoolchildren

    Sorry for so many questions, so you can answer only one if three are too burdensome.
    1. Does this "As choolchildren" mean "When we are schoolchildren" or "By the title of schoolchildren"?
    2. What is the usage of "be" in "whether it be true"'? What's the difference with "whether it is true"?
    3. I think this "could have believed" is not a conditional or presumption, but a present pefect meaning of "have been able to believe", right?

    is52
    ex)As schoolchildren, we learn that different weights fall at the same speed. This simple and readily tested observation, first published by Galileo, refuted Arisototle, who claimed that heavy things fall faster. Galileo put in in Two New Sciences, "I greatly doubt that Aristotle ever tested by experiment whether it be true..." We are left to wonder how people could have believed what they were told for two millennia without ever checking...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Sorry for so many questions, so you can answer only one if three are too burdensome.
    1. Does this "As choolchildren" mean "When we are schoolchildren" or "As the title of schoolchildren"? When we are in school
    2. What is the usage of "be" in "whether it be true"'? What's the difference with "whether it is true"? It is a subjunctive
    3. I think this "could have believed" is not a conditional or presumption, but a present pefect meaning of "have been able to believe", right? "We are lef to wonder why/how come people believed what they were told..." is another wording that makes sense here, IMO.

    is52
    ex)As schoolchildren, we learn that different weights fall at the same speed. This simple and readily tested observation, first published by Galileo, refuted Arisototle, who claimed that heavy things fall faster. Galileo put in in Two New Sciences, "I greatly doubt that Aristotle ever tested by experiment whether it be true..." We are left to wonder how people could have believed what they were told for two millennia without ever checking...
    Greetings,

    cahrliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. #3
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    What do you mean by "subjuctive"? I know its dictionary meaning, but is it different from conditionals?
    Is it the past or present perfect? "could have believed"

    2. What is the usage of "be" in "whether it be true"'? What's the difference with "whether it is true"? It is a subjunctive3. I think this "could have believed" is not a conditional or presumption, but a present pefect meaning of "have been able to believe", right? "We are lef to wonder why/how come people believed what they were told..." is another wording that makes sense here, IMO.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    What do you mean by "subjuctive"? I know its dictionary meaning, but is it different from conditionals? Subjunctive mood in English - guide to usage.
    Also, if you have it, Michael Swan's "Practical English Usage" will surely prove useful.

    Greetings,

    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  5. #5
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Okay, subjunctive mood seems to refer to counterfactual things or wishes that don't exist, but I also have seem a lot more of "whether it is true" than "whether it be true", so I can't tell the difference between the two.

    in "whether it be true"'

  6. #6
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, subjunctive mood seems to refer to counterfactual things or wishes that don't exist, but I also have seem a lot more of "whether it is true" than "whether it be true", so I can't tell the difference between the two.

    in "whether it be true"'
    The use of the present subjunctive is virtually dead in British English. Most speaker of BrE would use 'is' in that sentence.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Anyone who writes in a way that suggests that Aristotle refuted something Gallileo said is a bit dodgy in their writing style.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 24-Jun-2012 at 20:21. Reason: Misread original
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    The final extra question I missed.
    Which do you think "observation" here means? "watching" or "opinion"? The translation is "watching", but "opinion" also seems to work.

    is52
    ex)As schoolchildren, we learn that different weights fall at the same speed. This simple and readily tested observation, first published by Galileo, refuted Arisototle, who claimed that heavy things fall faster. Galileo put in in Two New Sciences, "I greatly doubt that Aristotle ever tested by experiment whether it be true..." We are left to wonder how people could have believed what they were told for two millennia without ever checking...

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Which do you think "observation" here means? "watching" or "opinion"? The translation is "watching", but "opinion" also seems to work.
    Now which seems more likely to you, keannu?
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: As schoolchildren

    See the entry for the word "obserbation" in Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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