I'm not sure of "have a measure" in the following.
We have a measure for the amount of plant mass-produced each year: it's called primary productivity. As every animal on Earth eats plants or animals that eat plants, this number is a good metric for examining the impact that human food consumption is having on the planet.
Does this mean "we have a way to measure the amount of plant..."?
Yes. In this context clearly so, because the measure we have is called "primary productivity".Does this mean "we have a way to measure the amount of plant..."?
But be careful. The phrase "have a measure of X" can also mean "we have some X, a certain not very large amount of X", as in "We begin with loving ourselves, for unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it is difficult to extend it to others."
"We have a measure for the amount of plant mass-produced each year:"
What, in your opinion, is the meaning of the part in red?
My opinion is that the hyphen is mis-located. It's the amount of plant-mass produced each year.
It seems clear there's a misplaced hyphen: "the amount of plant-mass produced each year".
PS, Oops, SoothingDave beat me to it.
Last edited by abaka; 24-Aug-2012 at 19:31. Reason: added PS
I had rather hoped that unpakwon would answer.
I think you should focus your attention on the re-punctuated sentence
We have a measure for the amount of plant-mass produced each year: it's called primary productivity.
(There's a consensus the original sentence had a misprint. No big deal, such things happen.)
1. What are we trying to measure? What is the period of time we are measuring it in?
2. What is primary productivity?
3. How does primary productivity relate to what we are trying to measure?