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    #1

    females with babies

    "Apes can stand up if necessary, which it would have been for females with babies."

    Is this saying that female apes would stand up when they are pregnant?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: females with babies

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    "Apes can stand up if necessary, which it would have been for females with babies."

    Is this saying that female apes would stand up when they are pregnant?

    The sentence is badly written. The it refers back to an impersonal (and unexpressed) subject: '[it is] necessary'. What the sentence means is "Apes can stand up if necessary, and it would [indeed] have been [necessary] for females [carrying] babies." This amount of ellipsis is a hindrance to communication, although some writers think it's clever.

    Apart from being badly written, I think this is untrue (as I believe I've seen film of young apes clinging to their mothers' backs) - but that's a bit off the point .

    b

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: females with babies

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The sentence is badly written. The it refers back to an impersonal (and unexpressed) subject: '[it is] necessary'. What the sentence means is "Apes can stand up if necessary, and it would [indeed] have been [necessary] for females [carrying] babies." This amount of ellipsis is a hindrance to communication, although some writers think it's clever.

    Apart from being badly written, I think this is untrue (as I believe I've seen film of young apes clinging to their mothers' backs) - but that's a bit off the point .

    b

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: females with babies

    Afterthought:

    A quotation was in the back of my mind when I said the sentence was badly written. I've remembered it now - though who said it, I'm not sure: Sheridan?

    We write with ease to show our breeding
    But easy writing's curs'd hard reading.


    And it was hard; I started a post asking for more context, on the grounds that it didn't make sense at all - but finally worked it out, just before pressing Save.

    b

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    #5

    Re: females with babies

    Thanks for your replies. There's one more idea I'd like to clarify. When people say "females with babies", does it mean "pregnant" or just "carry baby in one's arms"?

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: females with babies

    Quote Originally Posted by Eway View Post
    Thanks for your replies. There's one more idea I'd like to clarify. When people say "females with babies", does it mean "pregnant" or just "carry baby in one's arms"?
    It could be either, but it most likely refers to babies after their births.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: females with babies

    I agree with Mike - carry meaning 'be pregnant' is used chiefly when the focus of what you're saying is the contents of the womb: 'She's carrying twins'.

    I don't think the carrying here is as gentle as is implied by "carry baby in one's arms" though; apes (like human mothers) can be quite rough - sometimes dragging a child by the arm.

    b

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