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  1. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #1

    The anything / definite article + pronoun

    Dear Teachers,

    First of all, please take a look at this example:

    It seems difficult to know anything when the anything is changing moment-by-moment.

    I would like to know your opinions about 'the anything' as the definite article + pronoun, especially about these questions:
    Whether it sounds colloquial or not, and, if so, how you would paraphrase it to make it more formal.
    Whether or not the second 'anything' should be placed between quotation marks.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Best wishes,


    AlJapone


    Neither the old or the new encyclopedic methods is bulletproof. Knowledge isn't static. At the same time, it seems difficult to know anything when the anything is changing moment-by-moment and the changes are being drafted by persons with unknown motivation.
    Last edited by AlJapone; 12-Jan-2011 at 09:32.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The anything / definite article + pronoun

    Hi Al,

    Quote Originally Posted by AlJapone View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    First of all, please take a look at this example:

    It seems difficult to know anything when the anything is changing moment-by-moment.

    I would like to know your opinions about 'the anything' as the definite article + pronoun, especially about these questions:
    Whether it sounds colloquial or not, and, if so, how you would paraphrase it to make it more formal. Yes, it sounds colloquial, because you have taken something that does not usually take an article and given it one. It's a non-standard use of "anything." Having said that, I like it because it makes the reader go back and think about what you really mean. (Usually, I like text that makes it easy for the reader, but sometimes, it's good to make your reader have to think a bit.)
    Whether or not the second 'anything' should be placed between quotation marks. I think I would, to show that its a non-standard use.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Best wishes,


    AlJapone


    Neither the old or the new encyclopedic methods is bulletproof. Knowledge isn't static. At the same time, it seems difficult to know anything when the anything is changing moment-by-moment and the changes are being drafted by persons with unknown motivation.
    To make it more formal, replace "the anything" with "everything."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. AlJapone's Avatar
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      • Japanese
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    #3

    Re: The anything / definite article + pronoun

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    To make it more formal, replace "the anything" with "everything."
    Thank you, Barb_D.
    I am glad to know the expression has some charm, which could prevail over grammaticality.

    Neither the old [n]or the new encyclopedic methods is[are] bulletproof. Knowledge isn't static. At the same time, it seems difficult to know about anything when the anything is changing moment-by-moment ...

    At first, I thought changing "know anything" to "know about anything." would fix the problem. But this would have changed the meaning of the second 'anything' from 'any piece of information about any object' to 'the object of the knowing', which it is not when the context is considered. I am afraid that 'everything' would mean every object and face the same problem. Am I wrong?

    One more question: Is 'the anything' grammatical? I believe 'the anything' itself is not ungrammatical when used as a noun, of which I give an example at the bottom. In short, I guess the original example is, to some degree, similar to some works by M.C. Escher in that all the parts of a picture are logical, but the whole picture does not make sense.

    Best wishes,


    AlJapone


    Example of anything as a noun (I believe so):
    if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true ...
    A quote from Mathematics And The Metaphysicians by Bertrand Russell
    Last edited by AlJapone; 13-Jan-2011 at 03:43.

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