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    #1

    whirl like mill-race?

    Can it be that a whirl resembles a mill-race? "The Moskoe-ström whirlpool was about a quarter of a mile dead ahead — but no more like the every-day Moskoeström, than the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race."

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    #2

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mher View Post
    Can it be that a whirl resembles a mill-race? "The Moskoe-ström whirlpool was about a quarter of a mile dead ahead — but no more like the every-day Moskoeström, than the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race."
    Certainly it can. A mill race is a rapidly flowing stream, and like any such stream it can form whirls. But given that it a working stream of water, such whirls are always minor and not dangerous. Plus, nobody would ever attempt to navigate a mill-stream, ending as it must in a water-wheel.

    The expression you have quoted means that the Moskoe-ström whirlpool currently anticipated was far worse than usual.

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    #3

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    not a teacher

    A "mill-race" is the channel through which the water driving a mill wheel passes. The water in the race is typically swirling and turbulent, although in a much less dramatic way than you might see in a large whirlpool such as the one in Poe's story.
    So Poe's storyteller is saying that the way the Moskoe-Strom was during the hurricane in his story, was as unlike the normal Moskoe-Strom (as they are looking down on it) as the normal Moskoe-strom is unlike a mill-race.

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    #4

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    Of course, I have to agree with you, but Poe says that "the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race" meaning that what you now see is minor (mill-race) to what I saw that day. That is how I understand the sentence. How can a mill-race ever be more dangerous than a whirlpool? Is it everything OK with this sentence and its punctuation?

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    #5

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    not a teacher

    Read your quote carefully.
    "The Moskoe-ström whirlpool was about a quarter of a mile dead ahead — but no more like the every-day Moskoe-ström, than the whirl as you now see it is like a mill-race."

    He is not saying that the whirl they are looking at is like a mill-race; he is saying that it is not like a mill-race and that the difference between them is comparable to the difference between the hurricane whirlpool and the normal every-day whirlpool.

    In other words the hurricane whirlpool is not like the normal whirlpool, in the same way that the normal whirlpool is not like a mill-race.

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    #6

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    Can we put a comma after the word "see"?

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    #7

    Re: whirl like mill-race?

    not a teacher

    No, that doesn't help.
    You are only considering the last clause, whereas the nature of the comparison is established by the "no more like … than" construction earlier in the sentence.

    Try looking at it this way.
    a) The normal whirlpool (which they are watching) is not like a mill-race. It is much more turbulent.
    b) The hurricane whirlpool is not like the normal whirlpool. It is much more turbulent.
    The whirlpools that are compared in (b) are not more like each other than the whirlpool and race compared in (a).

    Also note that when the speaker says "the whirl as you now see it", he means "what the whirlpool looks like now".

    Perhaps a teacher can explain this more clearly.

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