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October 20, 2005
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Re: "...so It looks to me as if "with" goes better with active clauses and "by" with passive clauses...", I'm not sure that really tells the whole story, but it certainly seems on the right track. I'd like to propose the following (completely without justification):
"Paper bags have been largely replaced by plastic bags."
means that paper bags are no longer used. Plastic bags are now in common use, serving the same purpose, making paper bags obsolete.
"Paper bags have been largely replaced with plastic bags."
means that paper bags were, say, physically on the shelves in some actual storeroom, and someone removed most of them, putting plastic ones in their place.
Just a thought.
I'm not sure I agree with the notion that the backshift is optional with situations that have not changed (I assume that by "not changed" we're talking about situations that are still true today). I would think that in at least some cases, there should be no backshift. For example, I have no electricity after hurricane Sandy. I'm staying at a friend's house. Let's say one of my neighbors called to say that the power's back on. I would say "That was Steve. He said that we now have power." If instead, I said "That was Steve. He said that we had power.", I'm quite sure my wife would say, "HAD power? Gee, what happened to it???" Interestingly, I see a problem with has/had, but not so much with is/was. "One of my neighbors called to say that the power was back on." doesn't bother me nearly as much.
I have to smile after reading comments suggesting that a misspelled "re/ésume/é" could cause one's re/ésume/é to be discarded. The word "re/ésume/é" doesn't appear anywhere in my "re/ésume/é" and I can't say I've ever seen it in anyone else's! By the way, y'all like my new solution to the spelling dilemma?
I would agree with Will. Let me add that I would reserve 'who' only for times when identity is the issue. 'What' would be used for attributes, etc. To me, ...not who she was... means she underwent some kind of personality change, at least metaphorically, or maybe entered the witness protection program. Another way of looking at it is to ask "who are you?". I'm Porsche..."What are you?" I'm a doctor, a lawyer, a human being...
Unthawed, wow, that's a good one. Tell you the truth, it only partly bothers me. If one says something is unthawed, meaning it is presently frozen but is expected to be thawed, then I would say "unthawed" is a perfectly useful word, downright wonderful. Unlike the adjective "unthawed", the verb "unthaw" is far more pernicious as it is usually used to mean the same thing as "thaw". I've posted this elsewhere, but my favorite is "deboned". If boning a chicken means to remove the bones, then what does deboning mean, to put them back in?
For the original author (hint: it's not John Cleese), plus several alternate versions and two American rebuttals, see:
@Mikesheehan, bereave and beshear are not privative examples of be-; they are both intensive examples. If beshear were privative, it would mean to put hair back on; If bereave were, it would mean, oh, I don't know, something like returning one's deceased loved ones, as in resurrection.
Will, I assume that was just a careless typo, but "it" isn't a preposition. It is the direct object. "Michelle and me" are the indirect objects. I'm not quite sure why you chose to give "ownership" of the objects to a preposition, but in any case, I think you meant "to" not "it".
Actually, in the original sentence, clearly "the years", as the subject of the sentence, are doing the delivering; however, "their" in "their promise" refers to the Oslo Accords. This is more a matter of semantics than grammar. The passing years don't promise anything. The promise occurred when the accords were written. It is the fulfillment of the promise (the delivery) that takes place during the passing years.
Also, while the original sentence might seem a little awkward or confusing, it's not really ungrammatical, nonsensical (or even ambiguous). Years can deliver in the same sense that, say, "The years have treated you well, my friend."
Will, you compared "got another think..." with "YOU got another thing...". You should make the comparison fairer by taking out the "you" in the second version. "Think" still outnumbers "thing", but the recent growth of "thing" will be more apparent.
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