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  1. #1
    joham is offline Senior Member
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    Default didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Bob didn't break the window and refuse to apologize for his action.

    One of my net friends insists that the above is a correct sentence. I would think native speakers will say:

    Bob didn't break the window and refused/refuses to apologize for it.

    Am I right? Could I ask native English speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Bob didn't break the window and refuse to apologize for his action.

    One of my net friends insists that the above is a correct sentence. I would think native speakers will say:

    Bob didn't break the window and refused/refuses to apologize for it.

    Am I right? Could I ask native English speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.
    You are absolutely correct, both refused and refuses are good in this sentence.

  3. #3
    henz988 is offline Member
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    hi bhaisahab,

    I wish you had not been misled in the way the question was asked by Joham?

    I think it is a logic question,isn't it? And you didn't mean the original sentence is a wrong one, did you?

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    You are absolutely correct, both refused and refuses are good in this sentence.
    And so is the original sentence - it just doesn't mean what I suspect the speaker thinks it means; it means he didn't break it and he didn't refuse.... If that meant anything (my brain starts to hurt when I try to work it out ), it would be more normal to say 'he didn't break... or refuse...' but I think the original is on the borderline of acceptability. But this speculation is academic (if not downright whimsical)....

    The reason for the confusion is assimilation of the /d/ of the simple past to the (voiceless) /t/ of "to", which means that in natural speech the sound of the simple past of a verb ending in 'd' can (in the context of a following 'to'-infinitive) be very similar to the sound of the present.

    b

  5. #5
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Quote Originally Posted by henz988 View Post
    hi bhaisahab,

    I wish you had not been misled in the way the question was asked by Joham?

    I think it is a logic question,isn't it? And you didn't mean the original sentence is a wrong one, did you?
    Hi Henz, Sorry but yes, the original is wrong.

  6. #6
    henz988 is offline Member
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    Talking Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Hi guys,

    If there were a missing "d", there would be no question about this sentence. . I totally agree with you there.

    But it really boils down to an exercise in logic.

    Not (X and Y) has three possibilities:
    Not X, while Y is true.
    Not Y, while X is true.
    Not X and not Y.

    It only rules out both X and Y being true together.

    So let's say:
    X = break
    Y = refuse

    The possibilities of "not (break and refuse)" are:

    Didn't break, but refused (We can rule this out, as it doesn't make sense)
    Broke, but didn't refuse (this one makes sense)
    Didn't break and didn't refuse (Again, ridiculous.)

    Doesn't this make sense to anyone? I agree that it is not an eloquent sentence, but how often do we speak ugly sentences? Every day, I'd say. And I'm not saying that it must be what the speaker of the sentence intended, only that it is a possibility.

    It comes from an English native speaker's point of view, too

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    Those three possibilities -

    Not X, while Y is true.
    Not Y, while X is true.
    Not X and not Y.

    are what was making my head hurt.

    b

  8. #8
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    The main problem with the sentence is being overlooked.
    An action was taken ('break') ; Bob won't apologize because (i) he really did it but says the other person deserved it for some reason, and so refuses to apologize (ii) didn't do it and so won't apologize for something he didn't do.
    But the second clause explicitly says 'he done it' - '...for his action' ! what action??

    If anything, his refusal to apologize is because Bob denies doing it - and the first clause is reported speech, or - it is the verdict of some omniscient other. Hence, again, no action on Bob's part.
    Either way, he took no action with regard to the window that could be subjected to logical analysis as being either true or false.!!
    Logic is doomed when the premise is false itself.
    The sentence would be improved by adding one word to Joham's construction:
    "Bob didn't break the window and so refused/refuses to apologize for it."

    Note. The sentence was not
    Didn't break, but refused (We can rule this out, as it doesn't make sense) - it was 'and' - the use of 'but' immediately implies, he's guilty.
    The premise has changed again! Now the omniscient other is saying, ignore his denial -it's true, he took the action that broke the window.
    'didn't break' and 'and so refused' makes perfect sense to me.
    Last edited by David L.; 29-Apr-2008 at 19:47.

  9. #9
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    I think the poster didn't realize that the sentence was invalid in terms of logic. (Actually his question was about a tense form.)

    David L.'s solution seems to be the best you can find.

  10. #10
    henz988 is offline Member
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    Default Re: didn't break the window and refuse to apologize

    the second clause explicitly says 'he done it' - '...for his action' ! what action??

    Logic is doomed when the premise is false itself.

    "Bob didn't break the window and so refused/refuses to apologize for it."

    I like your reasoning, You are the man~~!

    I just treated it as an AND/OR exercise and it seems now I have to find out another logical, appropriate example for this kind of AND/OR

    Cheers!

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