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    #1

    Errors in sentences

    The Greeks were not great explorers but they were great thinkers on the nature of matter. Thales, a philosopher(,) observed that substances can be transformed and he called it element.

    As water is the most abundant thing and it made up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed this element was water.

    The above is what I read on a tuition centre’s notice board. It seems there are a couple of errors in the few sentences.

    Below are my doubts..

    1. Is it necessary to insert a comma after ‘philosopher’? The original does not have one.

    2. Should ‘element’ in bold be enclosed by inverted commas?

    3. Is it correct to use ‘it made up’?

    4. Are there any other errors?

    Thanks in advance.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Errors in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    The Greeks were not great explorers but they were great thinkers on the nature of matter. Thales, a philosopher(,) observed that substances can be transformed and he called it element. It's not clear what you mean here, what did he call "element"?

    As water is the most abundant thing and it made up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed this element was water.

    The above is what I read on a tuition centre’s notice board. It seems there are a couple of errors in the few sentences.

    Below are my doubts..

    1. Is it necessary to insert a comma after ‘philosopher’? The original does not have one. Yes, the comma is necessary.

    2. Should ‘element’ in bold be enclosed by inverted commas? Yes.

    3. Is it correct to use ‘it made up’? Yes, it's OK.

    4. Are there any other errors?

    Thanks in advance.
    .

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Errors in sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    The Greeks were not great explorers but they were great thinkers on the nature of matter. Thales, a philosopher(,) observed that substances can be transformed and he called it element.

    As water is the most abundant thing and it made up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed this element was water.

    Below are my doubts..

    1. Is it necessary to insert a comma after ‘philosopher’? The original does not have one.
    Yes. The commas here are equivalent to brackets. You cannot open a bracketed thought without closing it.

    2. Should ‘element’ in bold be enclosed by inverted commas?
    That depends on the conventions followed in the medium in which you are writing. (Incidentally, I would use 'this' rather than 'it', and I would still not be happy with what' it/this' was supposed to be referring to)

    3. Is it correct to use ‘it made up’?
    In this sentence, just about. It would be safer to say:

    As water is the most abundant thing and it makes up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed that water was/is an element.

    As water was the most abundant thing and it made up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed that water was an element


    4. Are there any other errors?

    Well, the first sentence would be better as something like:

    Thales, a philosopher, observed that some substances can be transformed and he called such substances elements.
    5

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    #4

    Re: Errors in sentences

    The Greeks were not great explorers but they were great thinkers on the nature of matter. Thales, a philosopher(,) observed that substances can be transformed and he called it element.

    As water is the most abundant thing and it made up the oceans and rivers, Thales thus believed this element was water.

    The above is what I read on a tuition centre’s notice board. It seems there are a couple of errors in the few sentences.

    Below are my doubts..

    1. Is it necessary to insert a comma after ‘philosopher’? The original does not have one.

    2. Should ‘element’ in bold be enclosed by inverted commas?

    3. Is it correct to use ‘it made up’? Can I use "it makes up"?

    4. Are there any other errors?

    Thanks in advance.

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    #5

    Re: Errors in sentences

    I'd like to add one comment.

    The two necessary commas in "Thales, a philosopher, observed..." may annoy. If so, you can phrase it like this:

    The philosopher Thales observed....

    [ Technical explanation. There are no commas here because "Thales" exemplifies, restricts, narrows the more general "philosopher", whereas in the first sentence "a philosopher" does not restrict the specific man "Thales", but only adds an extra detail about him. The restrictive/non-restrictive distinction is exactly the same as in the two sentences "The philosopher that was Thales observed..." and "Thales, who was a philosopher, observed...". ]

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