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    #1

    Is everything in its right place?

    Florence Nightingale noted,"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm". At the beginning of the 20th century, Dr Harvey Cushing, a pioneer in surgery and neurosurgery, published detailed descriptions of harm caused to his patients secondary to his own performance.

    ht,tp://www.deepdyve.com/lp/elsevier/...nce-t06Mw2gGmh


    Could you please help me understand the bold part?( Structure) Is everything in its right place? Is that grammatical?

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    #2

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, 0935:


    This time, I am reasonably confident that the following comments (not "answers") are accurate:

    1. Yes, everything is in its right place.

    2. Yes, that sentence is grammatical.

    a. If dear Miss Nightingale wrote it, it must be grammatical! (Just joking)

    3. This kind of sentence that starts with "it" is very common.

    4. In theory, your sentence could be written as:

    "That it should do the sick no harm may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the first requirement in a hospital."


    a. Native speakers usually do not start a sentence with a noun clause.

    b. As you know, an English sentence usually starts with the subject.

    c. So native speakers use a so-called dummy subject in sentences such as yours. The word "it" is the formal subject, but in reality it is a substitute for the real subject ("That it should do the sick no harm") that comes at the end of the sentence.

    d. Compare:

    i. That you are intelligent is obvious.
    ii. It is obvious that you are intelligent. (This way is preferred by native speakers.)



    James

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    The first precept in medicine is "Primum non nocere" which is Latin meaning "First, do no harm". This is what was being referred to.

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    #4

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    Thank you for your clear and helpful explanation.

    One more thing! What does "secondary to" mean in this context? Does that mean he published detailed descriptions of harm caused to his patients due to/caused by/after/coming after/in addition to his own performance? If not please offer any word to replace the "secondary to" while leaving the other parts of the sentence intact. The more you offer the better like the previous answer!

    Florence Nightingale noted,"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm". At the beginning of the 20th century, Dr Harvey Cushing, a pioneer in surgery and neurosurgery, published detailed descriptions of harm caused to his patients secondary to his own performance.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    In that context, "secondary to" is closest in meaning to "due to" and "because of".

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    #6

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, 0935:

    This is only the opinion of a very poor reader!

    My dictionary tells me that "secondary to" means "less important than." Its example sentence: "Luck plays a role, but it's ultimately secondary to local knowledge." -- The New Oxford American Dictionary (2001).


    Therefore (in my opinion), Dr. Cushing published descriptions of harm that were less important than the harm that he himself caused his patients.

    In other words, the FIRST reason for harm was his performance.
    The SECOND reason was something else. That "something else" is what Dr. Cushing published in "detailed descriptions."



    James

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    #7

    Re: Is everything in its right place?

    I disagree. If I say that a patient incurred an infection secondary to poor surgical technique, it specifically blames the surgical technique, but bacteria actually caused the infection. The two are integrally related.

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