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1200Re: [Beta_Unlimited] I need all of your adivce! PLEASE!

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  • Marta
    Oct 6, 2003
      > I'm not sure I could really explain it (grammar is
      > more of an intuitional thing for me ;) ), but my
      > vote is for:
      >
      > > 1) I was able to take a class from Dr. Thompson,
      > who teaches Shelly
      > > and Keats.
      > > 2) I was able to take a class from the Dr.
      > Thompson who teaches
      > > Shelly and Keats.
      >
      > So let's see if I can actually explain why... hmm...
      > nope, sorry. Can't verbalize it. (Can somebody else
      > explain?)
      >

      It's been several years since I've studied grammar in
      a classroom situation, but here's my best (probably
      fairly un-eloquent saying.

      If you have a sentence with a clause that is
      unnecessary (i.e., the sentence's meaning is clear
      without the clause) then you set the clause off with
      commas; if the sentence is ambiguous without the
      clause, then you don't put in commas. An example. Say
      I have two sisters, Katy and Marie, both of whom have
      red hair. Now let's say we have the sentence:

      I asked my sister who has brown hair to take out the
      trash.

      In this scenario, I would punctuate it thus:

      I asked my sister, who has brown hair, to take out the
      trash.

      The phrase "who has brown hair" does nothing to
      clarify the sentence: both my sisters have brown hair,
      so the sentence is no less ambiguous with the phrase
      "who has brown hair" than without it. If, on the other
      hand, Marie has red hair, the sentence would be:

      I asked my sister who has brown hair to take out the
      trash.

      In this scenario the phrase "who has brown hair" is
      identifying Katy as the sister I asked to take out the
      trash, and thus is necessary to the sentence -- commas
      are then necessary.

      Now, to the case at hand. I'm copying it down here as
      much for my own convenience for the reader, so you and
      I don't have to scroll up to see what I'm talking
      about.

      > > 1) I was able to take a class from Dr. Thompson,
      > who teaches Shelly
      > > and Keats.
      > > 2) I was able to take a class from the Dr.
      > Thompson who teaches
      > > Shelly and Keats.
      >

      In sentence 1 there's nothing to indicate that there's
      more than one Dr. Thompson. The basic point of the
      sentence is that I am taking a class from Dr.
      Thompson, and the fact that he teaches Shelly and
      Keats is irrelevant to that point. Thus the clause
      "who teaches Shelly and Keats" is unnecessary to the
      sentence (the sentence is no more unambiguous for it
      being there).

      The second sentence, however, has "the Dr. Thompson".
      This suggests that there is another Dr. Thompson and
      we are identifying which one. We are identifying him
      based on the fact that he teaches Shelly and Keats.
      Therefore the phrase "who teaches Shelly and Keats" is
      necessary to cut down on ambiguousness, so you
      shouldn't use commas.

      Does this make sense?

      PS- Someone asked recently for a beta for a HP/LotR
      fanfic. I would be glad to do this, however, my time
      is a bit tight at the moment, so my turn-around time
      will be more like 3-5 days instead of my normal 1-3. I
      have read all the books in both series multiple times,
      am better at LotR minutiae than Potter, but also write
      fanfic myself, and as I have just proven (I hope) have
      a basic feel for grammar. Let me know if you're
      interested.

      PPS- Someone on this list (I believe it is this list)
      is beta-ing my fanfic "Lady of Gondor". I had promised
      to re-send the latest chapter but have not been able
      to as of yet -- will try to do so tomorrow. Bear with
      me, I have not forgotten about you!

      Marta

      =====
      The Lord of the Rings: A story of jewelry theft and the ensuing hand injuries. (Source unknown)

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