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  1. #1

    How to break up this sentence

    Thanks for checking this. Here's my problem:

    This access to new insights and increased knowledge are usually unavailable until the physical act of writing begins.

    I'm troubled by two ways of breaking up the sentence.


    1) This access to new insights and increased knowledge are usually unavailable until the physical act of writing begins.

    2) This access to new insights and increased knowledge are usually unavailable until the physical act of writing begins.


    That is to say, I'm not sure what the adverb 'usually' really modify. Is it simply 'unavailable' or is it 'unavaiable until the physical act of writing begins'?

    Let's say that the word 'usually' represents a probability of 80%. Now the first interpretation says that there is a 80% probability that the access remains unavailable until the act begins is true. The other 20% probability may include cases in which the access becomes available before the act begins, but it may also include cases in which the access remains unavailable even after the act begins

    The second says that until the physical act of writing begins, the probability of the access being unavailable is 80%. Therefore, the other 20% probability include cases in which the access becomes avaiable.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by peteryoung; 16-May-2005 at 13:44.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: How to break up this sentence

    First, please note, the subject is singular, so the verb is singular:

    [1]This access is usually unavailable until the physical act of writing begins.


    Second, adverbs modify non-linking verbs and adjectives. 'unavailable' is an adjective. The rest of the sentence tells us why. That is, 'until. . .' functions as an adverb as well.

  3. #3

    Re: How to break up this sentence

    How silly I was. Now I totally get it. Thank you very much!

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: How to break up this sentence

    You're welcome.

    By the way, silly questions are good questions. Keep on asking!

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