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Thread: as etc.

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    #41

    Re: as etc.

    Dear Cas,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. No I see.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    No, no. I am the one who is wrong, Jiang.

    Ex: If there is one characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives diferrent from those/the lives of our grandparents....

    ____________________
    My apologies. I am very sorry. My head cold has me hostage.

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    #42

    Re: as etc.

    Dear Dawnstorm,
    Thank you vey much for your explanation. I understand most of your explanation.
    Could you please explain the meaning of your sentence:
    It's a stylistic choice. I wouldn't write it, because if you read it aloud, the apostrophe won't be heard, and a listener might think I'm comparing our lives with our grandparents. Also, a reader might miss the apostrophe and be confused for a second.
    The original sentence and choices are as follows:
    If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from _________ it is probably speed.
    a. that of our grandparents b. those of our grandparents c. our grandparents ( This is what I add now). Could you please explain if you think 'c' is correct?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang



    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post


    I didn't change my mind. I made a mistake in typing the first post. In the first post I wrote: "The way I read the sentence Jiang is correct and "those" refers/can refer to times." This was a mistake. I should have said "lives" in the first place. It seems I was confused myself, reading "times" and "lives" as interchangeable (which they "clearly" aren't). But then "those" can't refer to "times", because the word "times" doesn't even appear in the sentence.

    It means my reading is different from Casiopeia's.

    When you say:



    My answer is "yes."

    When Casiopeia replies,



    I disagree. In my reading, our lives are different from the lives of our grandparents because of "speed", which is a characteristic of the modern world. The sentence is quite complicated, so analysis can become quite confusing.

    Main clause: "It is speed." It = subject (which refers to "one characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents" in the if-clause).

    This long phrase consists of a noun-phrase and a relative clause:

    [one characteristic of the modern world] + [that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents]

    The relative clause can be broken down again:

    pronoun[that] + verb[makes] + object[our lives] + object complement[different from those of our grandparents]

    The question, now, is: "What does 'those' refer to?"

    I'd first go looking in the relative clause itself. Since "those" occurs in the object complent, I'll look first in the object. I find "lives". Substituting "lives" for "those" works. It also makes perfect sense. I quit looking for a referent of "those", and get:

    "that makes our lives different from the lives of our grandparents"

    I'm satisfied.

    If I wasn't, I'd go on looking. Next is the subject of the relative clause, the pronoun "that". "That" stands for "one characteristic of modern life". You then have "characteristic" as a referent for "those". I get:

    "that makes our lives different from the characteristics of our grandparents."

    I'm not satisfied. Why should I compare "our lives" with the "characteristics of our grandparents"? We're comparing apples with the colour of worms, here.

    ***

    And, yes, you can say:

    " that makes our lives different from our grandparents' "

    It's a stylistic choice. I wouldn't write it, because if you read it aloud, the apostrophe won't be heard, and a listener might think I'm comparing our lives with our grandparents. Also, a reader might miss the apostrophe and be confused for a second.


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    #43

    Re: as etc.

    1. Casipea, I missed your post. Sorry.

    2.
    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    The original sentence and choices are as follows:
    If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from _________ it is probably speed.
    a. that of our grandparents b. those of our grandparents c. our grandparents ( This is what I add now). Could you please explain if you think 'c' is correct?
    First, your (c.) should read: "our grandparents'", with the apostrophe. The apostrophe is needed, here, because there are no other indicators of possession (such as "of").

    Second, sorry about being unclear.

    What I meant was this. Both "different from those of our grandparents" and " different from our grand parents' " are grammatically correct and mean the same thing. If you use (c.) - provided that you add the apostrophe - you write a correct sentence.

    However, the sentence looks similar to "different from our grandparents", and this can cause confusion, if a reader misreads.

    In "different from our grandparents" (no apostrophe) the "s" at the end indicates plural. In " different from our grandparents' " (apostrophe), the "s" indicates both plural and possession. What happens is that the plural-s is, at the same time, interpreted as the possession-s ("grandparents's" --> "grandparents' "). The only difference on the page is the little apostrophe, which is easy to miss. When you hear the sentence spoken, there is no difference at all. So I prefer to be nice to my readers and - especially - listeners and make it obvious what I am talking about: "those (= the lives) of my grandparents" (the possession is not expressed with the "s", but with the "of").

    (By the way, this reaches back to the question about " those of my grandparents' ", in which possession is expressed two times: once with "of", and again with the "s".)

    The reason "different from our grandparents" does not work in the context is that I am not comparing "our lives" with "our grandparents", but with "their lives".

    A) We are different from our grandparents.

    B) Our lives are different from grandparents'.

    But NOT: C) Our lives are different from our grandparents.

    So the reason I would not use B) is because B) is too similar to C) and could be easily confused with it. Not using it has nothing to do with grammar, only with style.

    Do I make sense?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #44

    Re: as etc.

    Greetings Dawnstorm and Jiang. Glad to have the company on this one. (I've a head cold, so please bare with me.)

    Let's go back a bit.

    We know that a pronoun refers back to the closest noun. Our pronoun, the one in question, choice a. that, is singular in number, which means its referent must also be singular in number. That's referent could be a singular NP (Noun Phrase) or a clause/an idea.


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from that of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    That's closest compatible NP is a substantive noun, relative that,


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from that of our grandparents, it is speed.



    That, in turn, refers to this NP one main characteristic of the modern word, not the noun world:


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from one main characteristic of our grandparents' world, it is speed.


    Is that right? (Bare with me. I've that head cold. ) The phrase is modified from 'of the modern world' to 'of our grandparents' world'. Moreover, what was one main characteristic of our grandparents' age, why allude to it, and given that it's being compared, why isn't it even mentioned? Fuzzy-wuzzy.

    On a final note, the following replacement works, but it can't, for the reasons mentioned above, be replace by that:


    Ex: If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from the world of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    Let's look at choice b. those:


    b. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents, it is speed.


    Same referencing rules apply. Those is plural, so its referent must be plural:


    b. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents, it is speed.


    Those fits, but it sounds awkward, at least to me, because it makes our grandparents sound MPDish; i.e., they have more than one life. Given the context though, it stands to reason that those/lives means each grandparent has one life, therefore as a whole plural those/lives fits.

    Moreover, and lasly, notice the missing copular here:


    our lives are different from those of our grandparents


    Onward to the *newly* introduced third choice, c. our grandparents - Jiang, next time, you may want to provide everything you have - I agree with Dawnstorm, it needs an apostrophe to work grammatically, or rather semantically:


    c. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from our grandparents' (lives), it is speed.


    All the best.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 19-Apr-2007 at 16:50.


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    #45

    Re: as etc.

    Hi, Casiopea.

    I like your reasoning; it works for me. A few points:



    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Those fits, but it sounds awkward, at least to me, because it makes our grandparents sound MPDish; i.e., they have more than one life. Given the context though, it stands to reason that those/lives means each grandparent has one life, therefore as a whole plural those/lives fits.
    Actually, I thought "grandparents" is used collective for a generation, the same way "our lives" is plural, because it refers to "us" as a generation. Viewed like that, the plural fits.

    Moreover, and lasly, notice the missing copular here:

    our lives are different from those of our grandparents
    I don't think a copular is missing. the verb is "to make something different from something else"; verb + object + object complement (=adjective + prepositional phrase).

    The properties of the verb "make sth diffrent from sth" also add a syntactic reason to why "that" (referring to "characteristic") is odd. "Characteristic" is the subject of "make", which either makes the object complement self-referential (edit: no, it doesn't; the word's 'reflexive'), or nominal only (referring only to word, but not to it's referent). Both don't work.

    Does that make sense?
    Last edited by Dawnstorm; 20-Apr-2007 at 08:45.

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    #46

    Re: as etc.


    Dear Cas,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. I guess we go back to the first problem---'those' refers to characteristics is still possible?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Greetings Dawnstorm and Jiang. Glad to have the company on this one. (I've a head cold, so please bare with me.)

    Let's go back a bit.

    We know that a pronoun refers back to the closest noun. Our pronoun, the one in question, choice a. that, is singular in number, which means its referent must also be singular in number. That's referent could be a singular NP (Noun Phrase) or a clause/an idea.


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from that of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    That's closest compatible NP is a substantive noun, relative that,


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from that of our grandparents, it is speed.



    That, in turn, refers to this NP one main characteristic of the modern word, not the noun world:


    a. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from one main characteristic of our grandparents' world, it is speed.


    Is that right? (Bare with me. I've that head cold. ) The phrase is modified from 'of the modern world' to 'of our grandparents' world'. Moreover, what was one main characteristic of our grandparents' age, why allude to it, and given that it's being compared, why isn't it even mentioned? Fuzzy-wuzzy.

    On a final note, the following replacement works, but it can't, for the reasons mentioned above, be replace by that:


    Ex: If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from the world of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    Let's look at choice b. those:


    b. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents, it is speed.


    Same referencing rules apply. Those is plural, so its referent must be plural:


    b. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from those of our grandparents, it is speed.


    Those fits, but it sounds awkward, at least to me, because it makes our grandparents sound MPDish; i.e., they have more than one life. Given the context though, it stands to reason that those/lives means each grandparent has one life, therefore as a whole plural those/lives fits.

    Moreover, and lasly, notice the missing copular here:


    our lives are different from those of our grandparents


    Onward to the *newly* introduced third choice, c. our grandparents - Jiang, next time, you may want to provide everything you have - I agree with Dawnstorm, it needs an apostrophe to work grammatically, or rather semantically:


    c. If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from our grandparents' (lives), it is speed.


    All the best.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #47

    Re: as etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
    I don't think a copular is missing.
    I don't think it's missing either. (I was directing your attention to the equation: X1 = different from X2 wherein it is the Xs that are being compared.)

    This thread is starting to read like Who's on 1st?

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #48

    Re: as etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post

    I guess we go back to the first problem---'those' refers to characteristics is still possible?
    Yes and no. If there's an apostrophe here, those of our grandparents', then yes, it could; if there isn't an apostrophe there, then no, it couldn't. Here's why. In [1] the phrase, our grandparent's lives can be reworded as those of our grandparents:


    [1] If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from our grandparents' lives/ from those of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    Now, add an apostrophe to grandparents,


    [2] If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from the characteristics of our grandparents' (lives) / those of our grandparents' (lives), it is probably speed.


    In [2] the phrase, the characteristics of our grandparents' (lives) can be reworded as those of our grandparents' (lives):

    Now, the example phrase, the one given in your book, doesn't have an apostrophe on grandparents. Thus: those doesn't refer to characteristics.

    Hope that helps.

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    #49

    Re: as etc.

    Dear Cas,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Yes and no. If there's an apostrophe here, those of our grandparents', then yes, it could; if there isn't an apostrophe there, then no, it couldn't. Here's why. In [1] the phrase, our grandparent's lives can be reworded as those of our grandparents:


    [1] If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from our grandparents' lives/ from those of our grandparents, it is probably speed.


    Now, add an apostrophe to grandparents,


    [2] If there is one main characteristic of the modern world that makes our lives different from the characteristics of our grandparents' (lives) / those of our grandparents' (lives), it is probably speed.


    In [2] the phrase, the characteristics of our grandparents' (lives) can be reworded as those of our grandparents' (lives):

    Now, the example phrase, the one given in your book, doesn't have an apostrophe on grandparents. Thus: those doesn't refer to characteristics.

    Hope that helps.

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    #50

    Re: as etc.

    Thank goodness.

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