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    #1

    Complex sentences

    Hello,

    'At the beginning of the week he looked cheerful, but having bumped into him on
    Wednesday, he looked depressed.' I have a couple of questions concerning this sentence. Firstly,
    is it an acceptable example of a non-restrictive statement? You know, where 'but...depressed'
    merely adds additional information about the subject (he), as opposed to that information being used
    to define him.
    Secondly, what is the best way to represent the main statement above? I have used quotation marks
    but it's not a direct quotation is it?. Would it come down to an individual's personal choice: whether they wanted
    to use italics or boldface, or whatever?
    On reflection though, it probably does count as a quotation! But I'm not sure really.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Complex sentences

    The sentence has some problems. While any native speaker would understand that "he" and "him" referred to the same person, grammatically, it doesn't work that way. The "but having bumped ..." part should modify the same person who is "he" in the first part of the sentence.

    At the beginning of the week, Joe looked cheerful, but having bumped into Roger on Wednesday [and learning that Roger had gotten the promotion he wanted], Joe looked depressed.

    I expect you mean for it mean "At the beginning of the week, he looked cheerful, but when I bumped into him on Wednesday, he looked depressed." Here the "he" and "him" (and last "he") all refer to the same unnamed male.

    I suggest you use quotation marks to set off the sentence you want to ask about.
    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.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Complex sentences

    As Barb said, the original is ambiguous. In addition, I would not put the first comma before "but". I would put it after "but". However, I would be more likely to alter the whole sentence slightly.

    At the beginning of the week Joe looked cheerful but on/by Wednesday, when I bumped into him, he looked depressed.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: Complex sentences

    Thanks for the reply, and I agree the sentence looks a bit wonky looking. I sort of got caught in two minds about what I wanted to say. As for being concerned about me asking you about second conditionals, well don't worry about that - I wouldn't recognize one of those if I tripped over one.

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    #5

    Re: Complex sentences

    Thanks for the reply. I agree now that my sentence is a tad too loose, or ambigious, as you say.

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    #6

    Re: Complex sentences

    '....looks a bit wonky looking.' Sorry about that

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    #7

    Re: Complex sentences

    red an' dead, please note that if you want to add a sentence to your last post you can use the Edit Post feature.

    Rover

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    #8

    Re: Complex sentences

    Hello Barb,
    having re-read your reply, I'm not sure I agree, or even understand, your assessment. I wrote that sentence
    in very general terms and without intending to be specific. It's a bit like I had simply taken it from the
    middle of some paragraph, and where 'Joe' (as in 'him') already accounted for contextually. With that in mind,
    and with all due respect, I feel it would take an awful of persuasion to convince me the sentence is flawed.
    However, you're welcome to try. What I don't get - at all - is what you say about 'him' having to be modified.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Complex sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by red an' dead View Post
    Hello Barb,
    having re-read your reply, I'm not sure I agree, or even understand, your assessment. I wrote that sentence
    in very general terms and without intending to be specific. It's a bit like I had simply taken it from the
    middle of some paragraph, and where 'Joe' (as in 'him') already accounted for contextually. With that in mind,
    and with all due respect, I feel it would take an awful of persuasion to convince me the sentence is flawed.
    However, you're welcome to try. What I don't get - at all - is what you say about 'him' having to be modified.
    Barb is right. The sentence is definitely flawed. You won't get any of the regular teachers here saying otherwise, I believe.
    "Having bumped into him on Wednesday, he looked depressed." In this sentence, 'him' and 'he' cannot refer to the same person. 'He' has to be the person who bumped into 'him'. It would only make sense if he bumped into himself.

    Also, we're not here to make exhaustive efforts to persuade someone of something. We can explain things, but generally have no interest in forcing you to believe it.
    Last edited by Raymott; 04-May-2013 at 02:15.

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    #10

    Re: Complex sentences

    Hello Raymott,

    It was never my intention to have Barb spend all day and night to try and explain things to me. I never thought beyond her sending me a brief explanation.

    How about had I written, When I saw him at the beginning of the week he looked cheerful, but having bumped into him on Wednesday, he looked depressed? I mean is there really so much different between that sentence and my original? That's mostly my point. Is there anyone out there, moderator or otherwise, who agrees with me? That would be nice!
    Last edited by red an' dead; 05-May-2013 at 19:10.

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