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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 16th, 2012, 10:57 am
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Default letter to lord chesterfield

I was reading Letter to Lord Chesterfield by Samuel Johnson, but I found a sentence difficult to understand, and I need your help.

qoute:Is not a patrons my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?

I still do not know why there is an S after PATRON.

Your opinion will be much appreciated.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 16th, 2012, 11:33 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

It's a mistake. Did you find it on the net? If so, whoever typed it in simply made a typing error. The original has no "s". Have a look at this version : A Letter to Lord Chesterfield by Samuel Johnson
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Unread Jan 17th, 2012, 02:47 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

YES, I found it on the net, and, incidentally, that website is a good recommendation.Your command of the language is excellent; may I know which country are you from?
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Unread Jan 17th, 2012, 11:22 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

From England, live in Italy, currently in England
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 18th, 2012, 05:01 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

I know that we should say 'we sit THE history paper'
How should I explain to others that THE is not omittable?Is it due to the attributive noun 'history'?

Second, we can say: we do sth, doing sth AND doing something.
AND is a conjunction to connect the present participles, but can I call it grammatical if AND is omitted?
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Unread Jan 18th, 2012, 07:36 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

These aren't the same topics as the "letter" post, and are different from each other, so really you should have started two new threads - it makes it easier for other people to find information that they might be looking for. But anyway...

1. With concrete, uncountable "the" is used when the information is shared between speaker and listener, "a" if it is not. So :
A : We've got two exams next week. A history paper and a maths paper.
B : Oh, poor you! When?
A : The history paper is on Monday and the maths paper is on Tuesday.

In A1 the information is presented as new to the listener - s/he doesn't know about the exams. So "a history/maths paper". But by A2 the information is now shared. So "the".
You'll find more on this here : http://www.eslhq.com/forums/esl-forums/english-questions/where-rest-room-21142/

2. Sorry, but you can't say we do sth, doing sth AND doing something. The verbs aren't grammatical you can't continue with a present participle after a simple present. Can you give a realistic example of what you mean? But if you are just asking about "and"...
And is a co-ordinating conjunction which can join any two or more items of the same grammatical class - eg :
- two nouns fish and chips
- two adjectives black and blue
- two clauses I'm leaving on Saturday and I'm staying for three days.
In the case of a clause, items which occurs in both clauses (eg here I'm) can be omitted in the second : I'm leaving on Saturday and staying for three days.

When there is more than one item in the list, and is only used, but must be used, between the last two items in the list. The others are separated by commas (or in the case of longish clauses by semi-colons). Examples :
We had history, maths and English this morning.
I'm going on Saturday, staying for three days, and coming back on Monday.


If your question is whether and can be omitted in a sentence like the last example, then the answer is no. It (or another co-ordinator) must always be used to join the final two examples in a list.
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Unread Jan 18th, 2012, 05:40 pm
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

I was not talking about this function of AND, but thank you very much for your detailed answer.

There is an excerpt from Cardboard Box:



Holmes lay curled upon the sofa, reading and re reading a letter which he had received by the morning post.

Suppose the two INGs do not have the same object (also ignore the meaning of RE-reading; could it be grammtical
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Unread Jan 19th, 2012, 02:41 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

OK - now it's clear. Always give a contextualised example - it saves misunderstanding.

Here the participle (it makes no difference whether one or two, or present or past participle) forms a non-finite subordinate clause. Non-finite means that the verbs have no stated subject in the subordinate clause. This can only be done when the subject is the same in both the main and subordinate clauses. It's the same as saying Holmes lay curled upon the sofa. He was reading and re reading a letter... but the He was is omitted and just "understood".

Here are some more examples :

He walked down the street, humming a song to himself.
Invented in the 1930s, pencillin has probably saved more lives than any other drug.
While living in Finland, I had several opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
Looking up and seeing me, he smiled.



In each case, the subject of the non-finite verb(s) in the subordinate clause is the same as the subject of the main clause. When it's not, then the sentence becomes ungrammatical - eg :

*Turning the corner, the building came into sight.

Here the subject of "turning" is not "the building" and therefore the sentence makes no grammatical sense. It's what is known as a "dangling participle". You would need to say As we turned the corner, the building came into sight to make the different subject explicit.

If you'd like further examples, this topic has already been dealt with here : I don't know what to title this one
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Unread Jan 19th, 2012, 08:25 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

Thank you very much.
I got this idea from Michael Swan's A Practical English Grammar,
but Mr Swan did not tell me whether such a sentence is grammtically OK:

Looking up, seeing me, he smiled.

OR

Looking up, he saw me, smiling.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 19th, 2012, 11:29 am
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Default Re: letter to lord chesterfield

Remember what I said in the previous answer : when you "list" items, they must be joined by "and" (or another co-ordinator, as appropriate). So to make the first one grammatical you must say Looking up and seeing me, he smiled. With more than two items it's just the final two which need "and" : Looking up, seeing me, and understanding that I wasn't angry, he smiled.

The second one is not possible with the same meaning. You could say : Looking up, he saw me smiling. But then it was me who was smiling, not him and the construction is different.
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