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    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 88
    #1

    Exclamation a book

    Hello there.

    Does this sentence sound strange?

    A book is on the desk.

    Please help me!


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: a book

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Does this sentence sound strange?

    A book is on the desk.

    Please help me!
    Sounds all right to me.

    You could also say "There's a book on the desk."


    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 88
    #3

    Exclamation Re: a book

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Sounds all right to me.

    You could also say "There's a book on the desk."

    But some grammar books tell "Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end"
    This sentence has nothing to do with this rule?


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #4

    Re: a book

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    But some grammar books tell "Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end"
    This sentence has nothing to do with this rule?
    That is a sound rule. I often edit out just that kind of mistake.

    I think a sentence like "The sheriff shot a bank robber dead a week ago last Wednesday down by the barn where the old Johansen ranch used to be" is a pretty poor sentence indeed.

    But in this case, there are a couple of considerations that are getting in the way of using that rule.

    1) One consideration is that it is hardly a sentence that has much to do with emphasis. It's a fairly bland sentence about a pretty dull event.

    - Is the idea that it is as strange to see a book on a desk
    "The book is on the (gasp) DESK!
    as it would be to see a book on a ceiling?
    "The book is on the CEILING!"

    - Or is the idea that it is as strange to see a book on a desk
    "The (gasp) BOOK is on the desk!
    as it would be to see a giraffe on a desk?
    "A GIRAFFE is on the desk!"

    - And if some emphasis is wanted, how does the sentence suggest which element is the emphasized one?
    ------------------------------------------

    2) Another consideration is this:

    In the sentence you provided
    - A book is on the desk.
    and in the alternative sentence I suggested
    - There's a book on the desk.
    there is no difference in the placement of the words.


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #5

    Re: a book

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Does this sentence sound strange?

    A book is on the desk.

    Please help me!
    It's correct, but "There's a book on the desk" is a more natural sounding and typical sentence. Language critics advocate not using "there" in such sentences when it's not necessary and one is able to form a grammatical sentence. This is impractical, and in my opinion, it only means they need other things to occupy their minds. Personally, I'd be wary of a writing teacher that advises you to omit "there" in such sentences. In most cases, the sentence is better with "there", and it's hardly something that is worth being critical about.


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #6

    Re: a book

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    It's correct, but "There's a book on the desk" is a more natural sounding and typical sentence. Language critics advocate not using "there" in such sentences when it's not necessary and one is able to form a grammatical sentence. This is impractical, and in my opinion, it only means they need other things to occupy their minds. Personally, I'd be wary of a writing teacher that advises you to omit "there" in such sentences. In most cases, the sentence is better with "there", and it's hardly something that is worth being critical about.
    Hey, Gchman! I would like to change my answer to "What PRO said."

    LOL!

    Thanks, Pro -- he and I started to wander around in strange directions there.

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