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    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #1

    Question Find out what's wrong here!

    Hi, there

    (1)The skirt was pretty.
    (2)I bought it last night.

    It's quite alright to say "The skirt I bought last night was pretty." I was wondering why the following sentence sounds odd to my ear.


    "I bought the skirt which was pretty last night."


    Problem 1, which was pretty last night but is ugly tonight.
    Problem 2, no focus in the sentence!


    What do you think?



    Best Regards,
    Blacknomi

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    #2

    Re: Find out what's wrong here!

    Has the skirt stopped being pretty?


    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #3

    Re: Find out what's wrong here!

    Sadly.


  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: Find out what's wrong here!

    By the by, try 'a' instead of 'the':

    A. I bought a skirt which was pretty last night. ('was' is synonymous with looked/seemed)

    The skirt seemed/looked pretty last night when I bought it, but now, in the daylight, it doesn't seem/look as pretty as it did (last night).


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    #5

    Talking Re: Find out what's wrong here!


    Also, by the by. Incidentally, in passing, as in By the bye, my wife is coming too, or Exactly where do you live, by the by? The bye or second by in this term originally meant "a side path," whence the current sense of "off the track" or "of secondary importance." [Early 1500s]
    [Early 1500s] I learned something today! Thanks, Cassie Cassie.




    Compare:

    (1)I bought a skirt which was pretty last night.
    -->This sounds funny.I'd like to buy one.

    (2)I bought a skirt which was pretty last night.
    -->This could be the alternative interpretation, but less likely to take it this way, right?

    (3)The skirt I bought was pretty last night.
    --> Similar to (1)

    (4)The skirt I bought last night was pretty.
    -->This is just fine.


    I need your help, my Sensei!



    Kind Regards,
    Blacknomi


    • Join Date: May 2004
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    #6

    Re: Find out what's wrong here!

    Why buy skirts in the first place?


    A lot depends on your pronounciation.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #7

    Re: Find out what's wrong here!

    Quote Originally Posted by blacknomi
    I learned something today! Thanks, Cassie Cassie.
    You're welcome. By the way, in Japanese 'by the by' is tokoro de.

    (1) sounds funny, but it's perfectly fine given context (i.e., if 'was pretty last night' means, at the time of purchase. (2), the alternative, is fine, too, but less likely as you've noted, because the adverb ('last night') modifies the closest verb, 'was'. But (2) is possible given stress/emphasis. (3) is similar to (1), and in (4) 'last night' modifies 'last night'.

    The adverb is not the problem, per se. It's past tense 'was'. 'was pretty' can carry two meanings, and 1) is usually what the listener/reader picks up on:

    1) The skirt was pretty at the time of purchase and is no longer pretty now.
    2) The skirt was pretty at the time of purchace and is still pretty now.

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