(a) knowledge of

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joham

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To produce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a knowledge of grammar rules; yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules, that without a knowledge of them no elegant and able writer is produced.

My questions:
1. Would native writers leave out the 'a' before the two 'knowledge' s?
2. Would native writers use 'knowing' to replace the 'a knowledge of' ?

Thank you in advance.
 

tedtmc

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To produce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a knowledge of grammar rules; yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules, that without a knowledge of them no elegant and able writer is produced.

My questions:
1. Would native writers leave out the 'a' before the two 'knowledge' s?
2. Would native writers use 'knowing' to replace the 'a knowledge of' ?

Thank you in advance.

1.Your sentence is not correct. Notice the difference:

correct
To produce a writer, you may require him to have something more than...
Producing a writer may require him/one to have something more than...

wrong
To produce a writer may require something more than...

2. A full-stop is more appropriate instead of a semi-colon between the two sentences.

3. 'yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules' - It is arguable/debatable whether the knowledge (of grammar rules) is required to be a competent and elegant writer. I wouldn' t use 'able' as an adjective for a writer.

4. a knowledge of grammar rules/knowledge of grammar rules - both are acceptable.

5. 'Knowing grammar rules' (gerund) is also acceptable but 'knowledge of grammar rules' is preferred.

not a teacher
 
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joham

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Not my sentence, tedtmc. I copied it from the Grammar of English Grammars. Thank you very much for your help.
 

tedtmc

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Not my sentence, tedtmc. I copied it from the Grammar of English Grammars. Thank you very much for your help.

Grammar of English Grammars? Who is the author?
 

Heterological

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correct
To produce a writer, you may require him to have something more than...
Producing a writer may require him/one to have something more than...
Not quite. The sentences tedtmc wrote are grammatically correct, but do not make sense. The sentences are correct as written originally. Usually, "knowledge" is non-countable and so does not take an article. This is a special case, because we are talking about a particular field of knowledge.
2. A full-stop is more appropriate instead of a semi-colon between the two sentences.
Also incorrect, though this is a mistake many native English speakers would make. "Yet" is a coordinating conjunction, and so it should not begin a sentence or be used after a semicolon. The proper punctuation here is a comma.

3. 'yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules' - It is arguable/debatable whether the knowledge (of grammar rules) is required to be a competent and elegant writer. I wouldn' t use 'able' as an adjective for a writer.
What's wrong with it?

4. a knowledge of grammar rules/knowledge of grammar rules - both are acceptable.
5. 'Knowing grammar rules' (gerund) is also acceptable but 'knowledge of grammar rules' is preferred.
On these you are correct.
 

joham

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Grammar of English Grammars? Who is the author?


Title: The Grammar of English Grammars
Author: Gould Brown
Release Date: March 17, 2004 [EBook #11615]
 

tedtmc

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To produce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a knowledge of grammar rules
The sentences are correct as written originally.
Where is the subject in the above sentence? Isn't it incomplete as a sentence/clause?. I'd like to have some comments from other teachers as well.


"Yet" is a coordinating conjunction, and so it should not begin a sentence or be used after a semicolon. The proper punctuation here is a comma.
You are saying that 'yet' cannot be used to begin a sentence? If this is true, then shouldn't it apply also to the conjunctions like 'but' and 'nevertheless'?
yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules
What's wrong with it?
Are you saying that the underlined phrase is correct?
Shouldn't it be:
There is enough argument....
 

Raymott

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The sentences are correct as written originally.
Where is the subject in the above sentence? Isn't it incomplete as a sentence/clause?. I'd like to have some comments from other teachers as well.

I agree. I don't like it either. If the subject is "To produce an able and elegant writer", why the comma after it? We don't normally put a comma between the subject and the verb.


"Yet" is a coordinating conjunction, and so it should not begin a sentence or be used after a semicolon. The proper punctuation here is a comma.
You are saying that 'yet' cannot be used to begin a sentence? If this is true, then shouldn't it apply also to the conjunctions like 'but' and 'nevertheless'?

It's a rare grammarian these days who would not allow a sentence to begin with a coordinating conjunction. I don't disagree with the semicolon here (as a more emphatic pause than the commas), or a comma. But a new sentence would be my choice.

What's wrong with it?
Are you saying that the underlined phrase is correct?
Shouldn't it be:
There is enough argument....

No. This is simply a case of the adjective coming after the noun. As you know, it happens occasionally in English, especially, as in this case, where a writer is trying to be "elegant and able", and perhaps failing.

One thing I would correct, ted:
"2. A full-stop is more appropriate [STRIKE]instead of[/STRIKE]
than a semi-colon between the two sentences."
 

tedtmc

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One thing I would correct, ted:
"2. A full-stop is more appropriate [STRIKE]instead of[/STRIKE]
than a semi-colon between the two sentences."

Thanks Raymott. 'more .... than' of course.
Alternatively : A full-stop should be used instead of a semi-colon ...
A full-stop is preferred to a semi-colon...
 

Heterological

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Where is the subject in the above sentence? Isn't it incomplete as a sentence/clause?.
It is grammatically acceptable to use an infinitive verb as the subject of a sentence. It is more common these days to use a gerund ("Producing an able and elegant writer...") but there is a certain formality and elegance to doing it this way. That said, Raymott is right; I did gloss over the comma after "may," which shouldn't be there. So the sentence is not quite right as originally written, but only for one errant punctuation mark.

You are saying that 'yet' cannot be used to begin a sentence? If this is true, then shouldn't it apply also to the conjunctions like 'but' and 'nevertheless'?
It does apply to "but," as well as "for" (in the sense of "because," not as a preposition), "and," "nor," "or," and "so." The acronym "FANBOYS" can help you remember the coordinating conjunctions. Subordinating conjunctions (such as "because") and transitions (such as "nevertheless,") can begin a sentence.

It's a rare grammarian these days who would not allow a sentence to begin with a coordinating conjunction. I don't disagree with the semicolon here (as a more emphatic pause than the commas), or a comma. But a new sentence would be my choice.
I disagree. I teach advanced essay writing, and every textbook I've used has been very emphatic on this point. It was also one of the few grammar rules that was explicitly taught to me in school; I had to learn such things as the subjunctive when I studied to become an English teacher! (I have always had an ear for grammar, and knew on some level that "If I were a boy..." was correct, while "If I was a rich girl..." was not, but I never knew why.) I believe British English tends to be more relaxed about punctuation, and Australian English probably resembles British English more than American English. Perhaps it is acceptable in your country.
 

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I disagree. I teach advanced essay writing, and every textbook I've used has been very emphatic on this point. It was also one of the few grammar rules that was explicitly taught to me in school; I had to learn such things as the subjunctive when I studied to become an English teacher! (I have always had an ear for grammar, and knew on some level that "If I were a boy..." was correct, while "If I was a rich girl..." was not, but I never knew why.) I believe British English tends to be more relaxed about punctuation, and Australian English probably resembles British English more than American English. Perhaps it is acceptable in your country.
On the other hand, many writing teachers, and grammar book authors say it's OK (including Americans).

Writing: Is it okay to begin a sentence with and? - CliffsNotes

Can I Start a Sentence with And?: How about But? What is the rule when it comes to conjunctions?

Business Writing: Can "And" or "But" Start a Sentence?

“There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with And, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards. An initial And is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues.”
from The New Fowler's Modern English Usage
edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press:
Oxford, England. 1996.
Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.


“Grammar is a minefield into which only the most foolhardy march unprotected. But here's a little armoury:

  • Dictionary of Modern American Usage, by Bryan A. Garner
  • The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, by Pam Peters
The above, highly regarded, reference manuals both offer support to the grammatical validity of starting a sentence with a conjunction such as 'but' or 'or'.” from:
Grammar ? Starting a Sentence With Or, And or But: Is it Acceptable to Use Conjunctions at the Beginning of Sentences?
Read more at Suite101: Grammar – Starting a Sentence With Or, And or But: Is it Acceptable to Use Conjunctions at the Beginning of Sentences? Grammar ? Starting a Sentence With Or, And or But: Is it Acceptable to Use Conjunctions at the Beginning of Sentences?


And beyond those few examples and their like, there is the fact that many, if not most (or all) famous American authors (and other authors in English) do begin sentences with conjunctions. For example, can you name a famous American novelist or short story writer who doesn't?
Here are some who do: Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, James Fenimore Cooper, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Robert Penn Warren, Truman Capote ....
I'll concede that authors aren't grammarians.
What sort of essays do you teach?
 
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