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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant

    1. Does this "accused" mean a cause or a state or a simultaneous action?
    a.Mr.Williams was in court, as he was accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant - cause
    b.Mr.Williams was in court, in the state of being accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant - state
    c.Mr.Williams was in court, while he was accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant - simultaneous action(X)
    c doesn't seem to make sense, so I guess a or b would be the answer.

    2.What does this "anymore" mean? It doesn't seem to make sense here. "any more" usually goes in a negative or interrogative sentence. Is it different from "any more"?

    do58
    Mr.Williams is a capable gardener. Last year he came to work for Mrs.Elphinstone, who is old, fat, and wealthy. She knows nothing about gardens, but is under the impression that she knows a lot, which really annoys him. One day Mr.Williams lost his temper with Mrs.Elphinstone and called her an elephant. She wasn't happy about that comment at all, so she got a lawyer. A few months later Mr.Williams was in court, accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant. At the end of the trial, the judge found Mr.Williams guilty.
    "Does this mean it is againt the law for me to call this lady an elephant anymore?" Mr. Williams asked the judge.
    "That's right," the judge answered.
    "Well, would it be acceptable to call an elephant a lady?" he asked.
    "Yes, certainly," the judge answered.
    Mr.Williams looked at Mrs. Elphintone and said, "Good-bye, lady."
    Last edited by keannu; 13-May-2012 at 15:42.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant

    The defendant in a criminal case is often referred to as 'the accused'. From the time that somebody first made the accusation, the person who has been accused is, at any given time, accused.

    'Any more' means what it usually does, 'any longer', 'from this time on'.

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant

    I've always told others when a participle phrase comes after a comma, it usually has the following 3 major meanings, including others. And this example seems to be only a state(accused) to descibe the subject and as you said before, native speakers don't seem to think in a decomposing way. This kind of decomposition is not found in any native speakers' grammar books, but I feel non-native speakers like me need to know each different meaning in varying context. Do native speakers perceive them like these?

    1. He came home, singing the song happily.(while he was singing) (simultaenous)
    2. He came home, finding his pet dog dead. (and he found) (subsequent)
    3. He studied math so hard, getting a full score next day.(so he got) (cause-and-effect)

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: accused of calling Mrs.Elphinstone an elephant

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I feel non-native speakers like me need to know each different meaning in varying context.
    If you try to get the full meaning out of every utterance, you are going to spend a long time on it - and you are quite likely to end up with a shade of meaning that is possible, but not what the speaker intended.

    Unless they are professional writers (and not always then) or writing an assignment for an English teacher, most native speakers really do not worry about this sort of thing. When we hear/see something, we generally assume that the most likely sense in any particular context is the one that was intended, and happily go on our way. It not infrequently happens, especially in informal conversation, that the words actually uttered would be meaningless if carefully analysed. When we communicate, our aim is simply to communicate, not to produce elegant language.

    One very simple example of this: if someone, in answer to an enquiry as to where a friend is today, replies, "I ain't not seen him", no native speaker would take this double negative to mean "I have seen him". Whatever our private views of the elegance of the utterance, we all know, without any doubt, that the speaker is telling us that he has not seen his friend.

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