# Thread: Diagramming Einstein Redux

1. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

Sorry. I still don't have it.

You can DOUBT something, but you can only be DOUBTFUL ABOUT something. I can't get past that in your sentences (subjunctive aside).

"Whether" introduces the idea of a choice. It doesn't seem to make sense to doubt a choice -- unless it be the correct result of a choice.

"Doubtful" and "uncertain" do not quite mean the same thing.

I continue to be puzzled.

2. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
Sorry. I still don't have it.

You can DOUBT something, but you can only be DOUBTFUL ABOUT something. I can't get past that in your sentences (subjunctive aside).
"doubtful" does indeed subcategorize an S-bar. Given your highly reliable native intuitions about sentence well-formedness, I must confess to a genuine puzzlement as to why you are implying that "doubtful whether" does not work.

FYI: doubtful - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
"Whether" introduces the idea of a choice.
There is an underlying choice in my sentences.

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
It doesn't seem to make sense to doubt a choice -- unless it be the correct result of a choice.
'I am doubtful' refers to the unsettled state of my mind regarding my trust in the referent of 'he'. Is he right? Or is he not? I am undecided. Making a decision to trust him is a difficult choice to make.

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
"Doubtful" and "uncertain" do not quite mean the same thing.
Probably, but this is not of issue here either.

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
I continue to be puzzled.
The goal of my argument is syntactic in nature. Put aside pragmatics, please!

3. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

I'm sort of okay with "It is doubtful whether (or not)...
But I am not okay with "I am doubtful whether...

Not sure why. Maybe I am too old-fashioned with my English for a " Contemporary English Dictionary". For example, I do not accept "As far a the grade..." without including "is concerned".

I agree that we are digressing. Bring me back to earth, and explain how this effects the syntax of the sentence in question.

4. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

I meant "as far as a grade (is concerned)...

5. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

You know, I may not be smart enough to follow my OWN conversations. I am confused. Can we go "back to basics'?

6. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

Originally Posted by Frank Antonson
Can we go "back to basics'?
I do not know what more I can add to this thread that is useful.

7. ## Re: Diagramming Einstein Redux

Ibid.

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