To Mike

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Taka

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Maybe this question is kind of related to what I asked before: the question of comma.

Please read the sentence below:

The clearest evidence of old age is how eagerly I look for the proof that I haven't slipped. I love the newspaper story reporting the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist, or the aged marathon runner.

What is the object of "reporting" there? Is it (a):"reporting [the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist, or the aged marathon runner.], or (b): "reporting [the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist], or [the aged marathon runner.]?

I think the answer is (a). That is, the newspaper story is reporting the successful eighty-four-year-old scientist and aged marathon runner; they were both successful. But my text, written by a Japanese, says (b) is the answer: "the success" is modified only by "of the eighty-four-year-old scientist" because "the aged marathon runner" is separated by a comma. It says we cannot tell from the sentence that the aged marathon runner was successful.

I don't think the answer (b) makes sense.

I don't get it...

What do you think, Mike?
 

MikeNewYork

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Taka said:
Maybe this question is kind of related to what I asked before: the question of comma.

Please read the sentence below:

The clearest evidence of old age is how eagerly I look for the proof that I haven't slipped. I love the newspaper story reporting the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist, or the aged marathon runner.

What is the object of "reporting" there? Is it (a):"reporting [the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist, or the aged marathon runner.], or (b): "reporting [the success of the eighty-four-year-old scientist], or [the aged marathon runner.]?

I think the answer is (a). That is, the newspaper story is reporting the successful eighty-four-year-old scientist and aged marathon runner; they were both successful. But my text, written by a Japanese, says (b) is the answer: "the success" is modified only by "of the eighty-four-year-old scientist" because "the aged marathon runner" is separated by a comma. It says we cannot tell from the sentence that the aged marathon runner was successful.

I don't think the answer (b) makes sense.

I don't get it...

What do you think, Mike?

I completely agree with you. The object of "reporting" is "success". The remainder is a prepositional phrase with two objects connected by "or". IMO, the comma is not correct there. My guess is that the writer put it in to create a pause, indicating that the second prepositional object was a sort of afterthought, an add-on. If that was the intent, I would have used a dash instead of a comma. Nevertheless, the second analysis makes no sense. Even with the comma, there is nio way that one could logically conclude (from the sense of the sentence) that the writer intended any meaning other than two successes. Gramatically, "or the aged marathon runner" just sits there if it is not a part of the prepositional phrase. There is no other place to put it. :?
 

Taka

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Thank you, Mike. I'm relieved to know that I'm right.

Although you are a vet, it seems that you also write out good prescriptions for the pain called "English grammar", which hurts humans. Your comments always relieve my pain.
 

MikeNewYork

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Taka said:
Thank you, Mike. I'm relieved to know that I'm right.

Although you are a vet, it seems that you also write out good prescriptions for the pain called "English grammar", which hurts humans. Your comments always relieve my pain.

:lol:

That's why they call me Dr. MNY! :roll:
 
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