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Thread: elipsis

  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default elipsis

    The sentences:

    In history we learn the names of the most famous leaders and great generals, but not of the leaders of the smaller groups of people, of the servants or family members that made the achievements of the famous possible, or of what the lives of the ordinary people of their times were like.

    If "not of the leaders of the smaller groups of people, of the servants or family members" is an elipsis of something, what could it be? Is it:

    (a) do not learn of the leaders of the smaller groups of people, of the servants or family members

    or,
    (b)do not learn the names of the leaders of the smaller groups of people, of the servants or family members

    I think it's (a), but I'm not sure on this one.

  2. #2
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    Default

    It's an ellipsis for 'but not that of', that is, the names of the leaders of the smaller groups.
    That would be your (b).
    Again let's a teacher confirm for peace of mind.

    FRC

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francois
    It's an ellipsis for 'but not that of', that is, the names of the leaders of the smaller groups.
    That would be your (b).
    Again let's a teacher confirm for peace of mind.
    FRC
    I haven't heard such "that" can be eliptical...have you, Francois?

    Plus, take a good hard look at the whole sentences. There is "of what the lives of the ordinary people of their times were like" in back. If it is an elipsis for "not those/the names of", then it's going to be "not the names of what the lives of the ordinary people of their times were like.", which I don't think makes sense.

    ...yes, let's wait for the comments from teachers here.

  4. #4
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    Default

    We learn X, but not of Y, of Z, or of T.

    X is "the names of the most famous leaders and great generals" and Y is "the leaders of the smaller groups of people".

    That parallelism is strange IMO if the verb 'learn' is used transitively in the first clause, but with a preposition in the others, let alone that the first and the second objects are much alike. Cf parallelism

    Anyway if you don't agree just say so, no need to sneer -- I have never said I was always right!

    FRC

  5. #5
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    I think what the author is saying is that "we" learn the names of the most famous, but "we" don't even get much information (i.e learn of) about the leaders of the smaller group of people, of servants, and the like. I've stated one reason why (b) is strange. Another reason is, you know, no matter how we improve our curriculum, it's almost impossible for us to get to know the specific name of the servants that made the achievements of the famous possible. All we would get would be more precise information about them.

    That's how I think.
    I wouln't say either that I'm always right. :)

    Let's wait and see what teachers here are going to say. :)

  6. #6
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    Yes, I know of 'learn of'. Clearly, the last clause (which admittedly I overlooked) "of what the lives..." is 'learn of what the lives...", but the first clause is "we learn the names of..." (transitive). The other clauses are uncertain. Were it not for the last one, the construct could have been "we learn the names of X, not of Y or Z" and the parallelism would have been fine IMO. Using "of the leaders of the smaller groups" in the 2nd clause is unfortunate as it repeats the first object "names of leaders".
    Anyway, most probably all but the first clause are using 'learn of' as a verb, which means you're right. Happy now? :D

    FRC

  7. #7
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francois
    Happy now? :D
    I'm happy that I had a good conversation with you. :wink:

    Now, the confirmation by our teachers. :)

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    Yeah, there's some value in that, at least we must think twice about our arguments to make our points -- instead of more passively asking questions and get the magic answers from the teachers.

    FRC

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It would be 'not those of'. With ellipsis, it is often difficult to decide how much we need to expand. To get the full sense of the idea in independent clause form,then we would have to go back to Taka's version. However, Francois' version manages to fill in any comprehension difficulties more succinctly. I think it's a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other- they are both viable.

  10. #10
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I think it's a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other- they are both viable.
    OK. I understand. Thanks, tdol.

    Francois, seems like we cannot get magical answers on this one anyway.

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