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    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 13
    #1

    Ambiguous Writing

    Please check the following sentence.
    ( The lack of a strong gravitational pull had caused any water the moon may have had to leak out into space over the 4.6 billion years old.)
    It is written in the usage of "the moon may have had "as adjective clause.Therefore , some teachers got the wrong meaning as they thought that "on" is lost between "any water" and"the moon".
    Now,all i want to know is whether this sentence is grammatically correct or not.And then,can it be written in another form or pattern not to be ambiguous.


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

    Re: Ambiguous Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by soekothu View Post
    Please check the following sentence.
    ( The lack of a strong gravitational pull had caused any water the moon may have had to leak out into space over the 4.6 billion years old.)
    It is written in the usage of "the moon may have had "as adjective clause.Therefore , some teachers got the wrong meaning as they thought that "on" is lost between "any water" and"the moon".
    Now,all i want to know is whether this sentence is grammatically correct or not.And then,can it be written in another form or pattern not to be ambiguous.
    - The worst part of the sentence is the ending.
    ". . . over the 4.6 billion years old" doesn't mean anything.
    It should say, ". . . over the last 4.6 billion years."

    - There should not be "on" between "any water" and "the moon."

    - The verb tense is wrong. "The lack of a strong gravitational pull HAS caused . . ." is correct.

    Making as few changes as possible, this is correct:
    The lack of a strong gravitational pull has caused any water the moon may have had to leak out into space over the last 4.6 billion years.

    It is a difficult sentence to read, but it is not ambiguous. Its meaning is perfectly clear, even if the expression of that meaning is a little convoluted.

    It could perhaps be rephrased for easier reading:

    - The moon has a weak gravitational pull, so over the last 4.6 billion years any water it may once have had has leaked out into space.

    - Because of the moon's weak gravitational pull, any water that it may once have had has leaked out into space over the last 4.6 billion years.

    - Over the last 4.6 billion years, any water that the moon may originally have had has leaked out into space because of the moon's weak gravitational pull.

    - Any water that the moon may originally have had has leaked out into space over the last 4.6 billion years due to the moon's weak gravitational pull.

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