Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Member Since

September 1, 2006

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Latest Comments

Colon and Semi Colon

  • September 1, 2006, 3:04pm

No. An independent clause should follow the semi-colon.

Try a comma there. Better yet, tame that monster of a sentence! It appears to an example of a sentence that could be better said with half the words.

regards => regard
medium to long term => medium-_to long-term
**(I plopped an underscore in because the posting software on this site omits spaces after punctuation marks, but a space goes there.)

I met him drunk

  • September 1, 2006, 2:42pm

I was embarrassed when I encountered President Bush. I met him drunk. (Or "I met'im drunk.")

The ambiguity is worse than what has been proposed.

(1) It was embarrassing to encounter a drunk President.
(2) It was my big chance, but I was drunk when I stumbled upon the President.
(3) George and I were hugging adjacent "chamber pots" in the men's room at the bar. What an embarrassment for us!

I find the original three-ways ambiguous.

The further discussion of "I met him drunk" involves the use of such an utterance. So we must distinguish between the syntactic/semantic analysis of the sentence (or sentence type) which follows syntactic "rules" and its use in a particular situation.

Everyone seems to agree that the sentence is ambiguous; it can be intrepreted to carry various meanings. (My vote is for three.) And whether one reading dominates others is irrelevant since we can imagine a context in which any of the readings can be evoked from the sentence.

Used alone, then, the sentence has little use. It leaves the message unclear. A context will disambiguate the message the speaker or writer of such a sentence is trying to convey. But another possibility is for the speaker/writer to intend an ambiguity as I did in context sentence (2) above. In this sentence "stumbled upon" paraphrases "encountered" while additionally adding the picture of unsteady walking that might infringe upon the President's personal space. If I met with success, you read it both ways. And smiled.

So when Shakespeare writes "I lie with her and she with me" in Sonnet 138, he means for the reader to take "lie with" as both "not telling the truth" and "sharing bliss in the bed." The joy of the sonnet lies in its ambiguity.