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    #11

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You mean instead of any land?

    When he says "miles from any land", he's not referring to a particular piece of land, but when he says it, he obviously is. He's referring to the piece of land on which they saw the apparition.
    But the same reasoning does not work for "A: Do you have any water? B: Yes, I have it."
    Consider this parallel: When A says "any water," he's not referring to parricular water, but when B says it, he obviously is. He's referring to the water A asks about .

    Note: Robert Walton was not referring to the piece of land on which he had seen the apparition. The apparation had supposedly been moving on the ice.
    Last edited by raymondaliasapollyon; 07-Jun-2020 at 06:35.

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    #12

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    But the same reasoning does not work for "A: Do you have any water? B: Yes, I have it."
    Well, you could at least try apply that reasoning here, yes. But remember that this is not real use of language—you've deliberately made it up to be problematic, so there's really no point in trying to do that, or in trying to analyse it in any way. Without any context, this exchange appears incoherent.

    Consider this parallel: When A says "any water," he's not referring to parricular water, but when B says it, he obviously is. He's referring to the water A asks about .
    What are you trying to consider exactly? I suggest you discard this example. See my comment above.

    Note: Robert Walton was not referring to the piece of land on which he had seen the apparition. The apparation had supposedly been moving on the ice.
    Yes, he was referring to the piece of land. Why do you think he wasn't? What do you think it refers to then, if not land?

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    #13

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Well, you could at least try apply that reasoning here, yes. But remember that this is not real use of language—you've deliberately made it up to be problematic, so there's really no point in trying to do that, or in trying to analyse it in any way. Without any context, this exchange appears incoherent.
    Linguists, especially formal syntacticians, do regularly make up examples to test claims about language. And it's easy to come up with a context for that dialogue. E.g., A might be thirsty after having been hiking for hours.


    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Yes, he was referring to the piece of land. Why do you think he wasn't? What do you think it refers to then, if not land?
    Some people say "it" refers to "land" (without the "any"). But anyway, as an aside, I was saying Walton apparently saw Frankenstein's monster traveling on the ice, not the land, as suggesed by the following extract. All Walton could see in the surroundings at about two o'clock was plains of ice, when he and his sailors suddenly noticed the monster.

    About two o'clock the mist cleared away, and we beheld, stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice, which seemed to have no end . . . when a strange sight suddenly attracted our attention and diverted our solicitude from our own situation . . . Soon after this he inquired if I thought that the breaking up of the ice had destroyed the other sledge. I replied that I could not answer with any degree of certainty, for the ice had not broken until near midnight, and the traveller might have arrived at a place of safety before that time; but of this I could not judge.
    Last edited by raymondaliasapollyon; 08-Jun-2020 at 05:48.

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    #14

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    Some people say "it" refers to "land" (without the "any").
    Only some people? Well, what do others say? Are you trying to suggest that you don't think it refers to land?

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    #15

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Only some people? Well, what do others say? Are you trying to suggest that you don't think it refers to land?
    Reference to land is the most likely interpretation, although an American called Peter T. Daniels, an expert in writing systems, claims it refers to the apparition. And an Australian named Peter Moylan went so far as to say Shelley got it wrong.

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    #16

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    Peter T. Daniels, an expert in writing systems, claims it refers to the apparition.
    That's the only other possibility, yes. However, look at the previous sentence:

    We were, as we believed, many hundred miles from any land; but this apparition seemed to denote that it was not, in reality, so distant as we had supposed.

    Note the parallelism. Don't you think that makes it obvious?

    What's the reasoning behind thinking that the reference is to the apparition? How is it they supposed the apparition was more distant than it was? Did they already know about it before they saw it? Could you explain how this interpretation makes sense?

    And an Australian named Peter Moylan went so far as to say Shelley got it wrong.
    Got what wrong exactly?

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    #17

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    I am inclined to say "it" refers to "land" because Robert Walton knew that the apparition was that of a male, and he used the pronoun "his" to refer to the monster in the surrounding text.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Got what wrong exactly?
    He thinks Shelley was wrong to use "it" in reference to "any land."

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    #18

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by raymondaliasapollyon View Post
    He thinks Shelley was wrong to use "it" in reference to "any land."
    I wouldn't call it wrong but it is a bit clumsy, I think.

    The NP any land is indefinite, whereas the reference it is definite. It's not entirely usual to make reference between definite and indefinite NPs like that.

    Anyway, we can't blame Shelley—it was Walton who said it.

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    #19

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    The four letters preceding Chapter One of Frankenstein contain a number of sentences which are awkward by contemporary standards. I don't know if that's deliberate, because Walton is described as "more illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen."

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    #20

    Re: it was not, in reality, so distant

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I don't fully understand what's troubling you here. What do you mean by "to the exclusion of any"? . . .
    Yes. Raymond used that expression in another thread, and I didn't understand what it meant then, either.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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