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Thread: Confusing

  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Confusing

    The sentence (from http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...stomer-reviews):

    The hope comes from the love of the brother and sister for each other and their dignity. Despite their many hardships they are, with a few exceptions where Saita completely breaks down, well mannered. Meanwhile, everyone they meet cares only for themselves, or at least shows a rude ambivilance towards the two. The contrast is incredible. Yet, judgement is not passed upon them. It is left to us to judge. Nor is judgement passed on the enemy, whom the closest we get to, is seeing them as they streak overhead in their bombers.

    About "Nor is judgement passed on the enemy, whom the closest we get to, is seeing them as they streak overhead in their bombers.", (a) grammatically, what is "the closest", an adverb or something else? (b) is "is" in "is seeing them as they streak" a typo? (To me, "is" seems unnecessary there).

    Taka

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    The sentence (from http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...stomer-reviews):

    The hope comes from the love of the brother and sister for each other and their dignity. Despite their many hardships they are, with a few exceptions where Saita completely breaks down, well mannered. Meanwhile, everyone they meet cares only for themselves, or at least shows a rude ambivilance towards the two. The contrast is incredible. Yet, judgement is not passed upon them. It is left to us to judge. Nor is judgement passed on the enemy, whom the closest we get to, is seeing them as they streak overhead in their bombers.

    About "Nor is judgement passed on the enemy, whom the closest we get to, is seeing them as they streak overhead in their bombers.", (a) grammatically, what is "the closest", an adverb or something else? (b) is "is" in "is seeing them as they streak" a typo? (To me, "is" seems unnecessary there).

    Taka
    It is a strange construction, and would be better rephrased. At the very least, I would change it to: Nor is judgement passed on the enemy; the closest we get to the enemy is seeing them as they streak overhead in their bombers.

    "The closest" is difficult to classify. It is, of its nature, adjectival or adverbial, but it is preceded by a definite article, which is reserved for substantives. Therefore, I would say that "closest" is being used as a noun or there is an implied noun, such as "point" that is an ellipsis after "closest". Then "the closest (point)" becomes the subject of the clause: The closest is seeing them...bombers. In that clause, "seeing" introduces a gerund phrase, acting as a predicate nominative after the linking verb "is" (which is necessary, by the way). The remainder "whom we get to" is a relative clause, (that) we get to whom. This modifies "closest" and "whom" refers back to "enemy".

    A bit complex. Does it answer your question? :wink:

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    A bit complex. Does it answer your question? :wink:
    Yes, it really does!!

    Without your comments, I wouldn't have realized that there is an implied noun, such as "point" that is an ellipsis after "closest".


    Zillion thanks to you Mike!

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    A bit complex. Does it answer your question? :wink:
    Yes, it really does!!

    Without your comments, I wouldn't have realized that there is an implied noun, such as "point" that is an ellipsis after "closest".


    Zillion thanks to you Mike!
    No problem. It was my analysis; there may be others. I am hesitant to use ellipsis to solve grammar problems, but sometimes it is necessary to do that. :wink:

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Don't worry, Mike; your secret's safe with us.

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Don't worry, Mike; your secret's safe with us.
    LOL! We both know a guy who would analyze that text by adding more than was already there.

  7. #7
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Ah, gentlemen, I don't know what you're talking about.

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Ah, gentlemen, I don't know what you talking about.
    We are talking about the overuse of "ellipsis" in explaining grammar. This is adding words that are not present. :wink:

  9. #9
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Ah, gentlemen, I don't know what you talking about.
    We are talking about the overuse of "ellipsis" in explaining grammar. This is adding words that are not present. :wink:
    I know what "ellipsis" is.

    My question is, how do tdol's jokes (and yours) relate to "ellipsis" ??

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    On another forum, there's a poster who's really into ellipsis and he and Mike have discussed the issue on a number of occasions, with Mike's position generally being to avoid ellipsis unless absolutley necessary, while the other guy can find ellipsis almost everywhere.

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