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  1. #1
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    as well as exerting

    Hi,

    A sentence from Martin Rees's "Just six numbers":

    "Two protons would, according to Newton's laws, attract each other gravitationally, as well as exerting an electrical force of repulsion on one another."

    I have problems with understanding it. In particular, I have problems with the "as well as" phrase and "exerting" that starts it: what does this whole phrase modify?

    Thanks,
    nyggus

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: as well as exerting

    Think of as well as = and or at the same time.

    "Two protons would, according to Newton's laws, attract each other gravitationally, and (two protons) would exert an electrical force of repulsion on one another."

    Exert can be found in a dictionary.

  3. #3
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: as well as exerting

    Thanks. I didn't have problems with the words but with the construction. I'd have no problem with the sentence if it read, ..."attract each other gravitationally, as well as exerting an electrical force of repulsion on one another." Is this use of "as well as" typical?

  4. #4
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: as well as exerting

    Yes, it is.

  5. #5
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: as well as exerting

    "Two protons would, according to Newton's laws, attract each other gravitationally, as well as exerting an electrical force of repulsion on one another."

    If we take away "as well as", then I would certainly have a problem with the sentence: "Two protons would, according to Newton's laws, attract each other gravitationally, exerting an electrical force of repulsion on one another." The grammar is fine, but it would make no sense, as attract(ion) and repulsion are antonyms.

    The author is talking about the apparent paradox in Newton's idea(s).

  6. #6
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: as well as exerting

    Thanks. I see your point. As for "as well as," please don't be amazed that I have problems with the sentence: in all examples I've seen, "as well as" joined parallel constructions while in this sentence it joins non-parallel constructions ("would attract" and "exerting," if I get it right).

  7. #7
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: as well as exerting

    I agree. Maybe it would have been better if the author had used: ... while at the same time.

    Scientists still don't fully understand these apparently opposite forces, and they (the forces) may well be happening at the same time with unequal power, so perhaps the original is correct after all.



    I am not a quantum physicist.

  8. #8
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: as well as exerting

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    If we take away "as well as", then I would certainly have a problem with the sentence: "Two protons would, according to Newton's laws, attract each other gravitationally, exerting an electrical force of repulsion on one another." The grammar is fine, but it would make no sense, as attract(ion) and repulsion are antonyms.
    One more thing. Do you have a problem with the ill-constructed version of the sentence, that with "...attract each other gravitationally, exerting...", because you would read it as "...attract each other gravitationally, in that way exerting..."?

  9. #9
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: as well as exerting

    Yes. We can't pull something nearer to us by pushing on it!

    We could, however, imagine having a rope attached to an object and pulling the rope with our arms while simultaneously having a foot on the object to keep it away. Whichever force was stronger (arms pulling or foot pushing) would determine the movement of the object relative to ourselves.

    Uh oh, I'm starting to wonder if the original is okay after all, with the substitution of while at the same time to help a layman like myself understand a little better.

    My head just exploded...
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 04-Aug-2017 at 12:08.

  10. #10
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: as well as exerting

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Uh oh, I'm starting to wonder if the original is okay after all, with the substitution of while at the same time to help a layman like myself understand a little better.

    My head just exploded...
    And think of a layman and a non-native English speaker like me...

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