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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

But versus However

awnlee jawking

I was recently chastised for using 'but' and 'however' more-or-less interchangeably. How many editors and proofreaders here care about the difference? I have to admit that I don't when I'm editing or proofreading the work of others.

AJ

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

In more than 90% of the usages they are interchangeable, but there are few times when they would not be a good alternative for the other. Often the words because and as can be used in place of one or the other as well. It all depends on the actual context. mind you, many people don't fully understand their usage, anyway.

edit to add word not I missed out on before. Sorry.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

In more than 90% of the usages they are interchangeable, but there are few times when they would be a good alternative for the other.

I agree.

Both are usually used as conjunctions, and then I'd be more concerned about however sounding ponderous than any distinctions in meaning between them.

However has some other uses as an adverb. I wouldn't be comfortable with but being used in those cases.

AJ, you might consider telling those who complain that you see no reason to bother if the Grammar Nazis at CMOS don't consider the difference worth mentioning.

richardshagrin

Being hit on the but is a lot different than on the however. Butt not everyone agrees however they get hit.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Both are usually used as conjunctions


Oxford lists 'however' only as an adverb. Websites that express an opinion of difference seen to focus on the ramifications of their being different parts of speech.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Oxford lists 'however' only as an adverb. Websites that express an opinion of difference seen to focus on the ramifications of their being different parts of speech.

So why aren't you railing against the refusal of some, but not all, dictionaries to accept that everyday usage of however as a conjunction is very common - and the mindless pedants who insist there is a rule against doing that?

I'd agree but and however are not totally interchangeable. I wouldn't bother for informal writing, but formal writers probably shouldn't use however in situations that require a coordinating conjunction.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I tend to use the word 'but' to join two shorter related phrases together. Often I'll use the word 'however' to join longer phrases, or phrases with additional phrases together while using a full stop (period for you USA people) to end the first phrase. I'll also use the word 'however' with a full stop to join in a third related phrase. While it is possible to use the word 'however' after comma the same way as you do with the word 'but' I tend not to do that.

Off the cuff examples, in order of usage types listed above:

John was angry Fred was running real late, but he wasn't worried about it.

Harry raced through the apartment to pick up everything to put it away to make the place look neat for his expected guests. However, he wasn't concerned enough to get out the cleaning materials or the broom to make the place look immaculate.

Conjunctions are very good for joining phrases together, but they work best when the phrases are closely related to each other. However, they look real stupid if you use the same conjunction to link in another phrase to the sentence, or the extra phrase makes the sentence over long.

edit to add: However, my usage of the word 'however' is much more tightly controlled when writing a formal reports as against the informal writing I use in stories.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

[Conjunctions] look real stupid if you use the same conjunction to link in another phrase to the sentence, or the extra phrase makes the sentence over long.

I agree but the same result can happen with other parts of speech too.

I apologise for this nitpick in advance. There's a sentence in your post that I despise for that very reason. Granted, you just banged out an "off the cuff example" for a post. I'm not complaining; it's just a convenient example of something I consider important as an editor.

The sentence which offends me is:

Harry raced through the apartment to pick up everything to put it away to make the place look neat for his expected guests.

It has three to-verbs close together. In fact, even two that close would usually be enough for me to consider changing one to an ing-form of the verb. I tend to do the same when I see consecutive ing-verbs; I'll look for ways to change one of those to a to-verb.

Another option is to change either of these forms, which grammatically function to create noun phrases, into active verbs. That often produces a list of clauses in the sentence joined by (non-)serial commas.

One possible rewrite of your sentence would be:

Harry raced through the apartment, picking up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

Harry raced through the apartment, picking up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests.


I don't want to start a long discussion as to which usage is the right or best usage, I'm simply stating my position while recognising others have a different view of thing.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on some aspects of this. To me, putting the comma there like that disassociates the why from the what. It's what I call a fragmentation comma because it fragments the single activity. However, I know not everyone agrees with me on that.

One test for the use of a comma in that type of situation is if you place a full stop there and see how that affects the reading. Another test for this specific type of usage is to try a different verb and see how it changes.

In the end, I see this situation of usage of the comma is more a style choice than a grammar requirement.

....................

Related to that, I used the past tense in the example because most authors at SoL use the past tense and by using the past tense I can get the message across to them easier. However, I tend to see racing as present tense and raced as past tense, thus I'd be very hesitant to use racing in a past tense situation. I can see there are times it would fit, but I'd be reluctant to use it that way.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I've admitted I use 'but' and 'however' virtually interchangeably. When I have too many occurrences of one in close proximity, I switch one or more to the other.

As for railing against dictionaries, does it do any good? It only seems to upset people who use them in 'appeal to authority' arguments.

AJ

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I apologise for this nitpick in advance.

Yay, nitpick time!

I'd prefer:

Harry raced through the apartment, picking up things and putting them away so the place would look neat for his expected guests.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

I don't want to start a long discussion as to which usage is the right or best usage

I did not claim my alternate was 'right or best usage'. I only described it as a "possible rewrite". In fact, I considered a number of variations and couldn't find any that satisfied me.

My only point was to note that I frequently find sequences of either to-verbs or ing-verbs somewhat irritating. I see them quite often and it seems like some authors drop into using them as their default style without realising it. I suggest authors be aware that can become tedious for readers.

Fixing such sequences is usually easy, but you must first notice them. My off-the-cuff version showed how one could be changed to an ing-verb and another to an active verb.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Yay, nitpick time!

I'd prefer:

I really don't want to discuss what's the best alternative for that sentence, but I'd concede I like your version more than mine. :-)

I only wanted to point out how much I disliked the 'to ... to ... to ...' structure in the original. I'd prefer almost anything instead of that.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I really don't want to discuss what's the best alternative for that sentence, but I'd concede I like your version more than mine. :-)


#MeToo

AJ

robberhands

@Ross at Play

I really don't want to discuss what's the best alternative for that sentence, ...

Yeah, me neither. I should be busy with the things I need to do, but I'm lazy and don't wanna.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

I did not claim my alternate was 'right or best usage'.


Which is where I stand on it as well. rarely does the first way something is written in a story draft be the way it is in the final copy that's posted, but I don't bother to massage the forum posts so they do tend to end up with the first draft version that's not as smooth as the final for an actual story.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

I don't bother to massage the forum posts so they do tend to end up with the first draft version that's not as smooth as the final for an actual story.

Yeah. That's why I apologised in advance for my nitpick. You banged out something that hit one of my pet peeves, and I couldn't help myself. :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

FWIW, although I preferred the @robberhands version to what you initially wrote, that wouldn't be a compelling reason to change it for a story.

The research supporting 'couple' always being followed by 'of' would also support your phrasing if that is your normal style. Consistency is paramount, more important to readability than technical correctness.

AJ

Switch Blayde

Using "however" in the beginning of a sentence (per Grammar Girl https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/starting-a-sentence-with-however-right-or-wrong )

It is fine to start a sentence with however. You just need to know when to use a comma.

The comma is important because however is a conjunctive adverb that can be used in two different ways: it can join main clauses and it can modify a clause.

If you use however at the beginning of a sentence and don't insert a comma, however means "in whatever manner," "to whatever extent," or "no matter how."

For instance, Winston Churchill said, "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

When you put a comma after however at the beginning of a sentence, everyone knows it means "nevertheless."

From Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, "It is a great deal easier to go down hill than up. However, they kept on, with unabated perseverance."

And here's something that may surprise you even more: modern sources such as The Chicago Manual of Style, Garner's Modern American Usage, and others say that although it isn't wrong to start a sentence with however (9, 10, 11), it's usually better to start a sentence with but. Yes, many of you were probably also taught that it's wrong to start a sentence with a conjunction such as and and but, but that's a myth too.

After saying it's not an error to start a sentence with however, Chicago goes on to add "however is more ponderous and has less impact than the simple but," and Garner's sentiment is also that it is more effective to start a sentence with but or yet than however.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

After saying it's not an error to start a sentence with however, Chicago goes on to add "however is more ponderous and has less impact than the simple but," and Garner's sentiment is also that it is more effective to start a sentence with but or yet than however.


I'm not shooting the messenger here, but I wonder how they managed to verify those assertions. I would have thought 'however' makes more impact precisely because it is more ponderous and drawn-out.

(Yep, I've been overdosing on the science of reading and writing again).

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

However has some other uses as an adverb. I wouldn't be comfortable with but being used in those cases.

AJ, you might consider telling those who complain that you see no reason to bother if the Grammar Nazis at CMOS don't consider the difference worth mentioning.

The biggest difference is that the conjunction "but" isn't your best choice for starting a sentence with (because, well, it's not a conjunction), while "however" is fine for that use. Plus, keeping that in mind reminds you not to use other conjunctions there as well. 'D

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

One possible rewrite of your sentence would be:

Harry raced through the apartment, picking up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests.

Stating the obvious, but the "to put it away" is completely unnecessary, as it's part and parcel with 'making the place look neat', but then, so is putting up black lights and lava lamps, so keep it or not.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

However, I tend to see racing as present tense and raced as past tense, thus I'd be very hesitant to use racing in a past tense situation. I can see there are times it would fit, but I'd be reluctant to use it that way.

Mixing present and past tense in the same sentence are fine, but not in the same sentence segment. They need to have commas separating them so the tenses aren't conflicting, which is why Ross added them in this case.

While I see your point about 'comma fragmentation', I don't think it applies to "so", since you'd normally apply a comma before "so" anyway!

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

My only point was to note that I frequently find sequences of either to-verbs or ing-verbs somewhat irritating. I see them quite often and it seems like some authors drop into using them as their default style without realising it.

I often do that (repeating reusing the same things in close proximity), but then I clean them up during the revision phase—which is yet another reason why it makes sense to 1) complete stories before submitting (not strictly necessary or even wanted) and 2) separating the writing and editing phases, so you're aware of what you're looking for, and are actively seeking out those instances.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I only wanted to point out how much I disliked the 'to ... to ... to ...' structure in the original. I'd prefer almost anything instead of that.

Including "be ... be ... be ..."? However, "Do Wa Ditty" beats either nearly every time. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Yeah. That's why I apologized in advance for my nitpick. You banged out something that hit one of my pet peeves, and I couldn't help myself.

Don't apologize (afterward, although the pre-apology is helpful), it's an important reminder that most newbie authors (and us experienced authors as well) need to be reminded of.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Using "however" in the beginning of a sentence

Thanks for that distinction, Switch. I'd added my own (later) comment about it, but never even considered when you'd need to insert a comma there.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


The biggest difference is that the conjunction "but" isn't your best choice for starting a sentence with (because, well, it's not a conjunction), while "however" is fine for that use. Plus, keeping that in mind reminds you not to use other conjunctions there as well. 'D


Grammar Girl disagrees with you (same link as above):

And here's something that may surprise you even more: modern sources such as The Chicago Manual of Style, Garner's Modern American Usage, and others say that although it isn't wrong to start a sentence with however (9, 10, 11), it's usually better to start a sentence with but. Yes, many of you were probably also taught that it's wrong to start a sentence with a conjunction such as and and but, but that's a myth too.

After saying it's not an error to start a sentence with however, Chicago goes on to add "however is more ponderous and has less impact than the simple but," and Garner's sentiment is also that it is more effective to start a sentence with but or yet than however.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I don't think it applies to "so", since you'd normally apply a comma before "so" anyway!

I do not 'normally apply a comma before "so" '. It's one of the coordinating conjunctions so not using a comma in this sentence is correct. But, with three or more clauses I would use serial commas.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Mixing present and past tense in the same sentence are fine, but not in the same sentence segment. They need to have commas separating them so the tenses aren't conflicting, which is why Ross added them in this case.

That is not why I used the comma and I wasn't using the present tense.

The sentence you were referring to was this:

Harry raced through the apartment, picking up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests.

'Picking' is not functioning as a verb in that sentence. It's a gerund and 'picking up everything' is a noun phrase. I used the comma before it because that phrase is non-restrictive.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Grammar Girl disagrees with you

It's not wrong to start and sentence with "and" or "but", but it's never recommended. Plus, as others have pointed out, many of us prefer "However" as a sentence opener, because the very "ponderousness" bit complains about draws more attention to the comparison it's make. It's akin to using em-dashes instead of simple commas.

Personally, while I generally agree with most of her conclusions, on these two points, I think she's way off in left field, in another ballpark entirely!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I do not 'normally apply a comma before "so" '.

I use commas with "so" because it is used as a conjunction, just as I would with any other conjunction. It cases where it's not being used as a conjunction, I wouldn't use a comma. But then, I guess that circular logic (i.e. "I use a comma because I use commas (for conjunctions).

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

'Picking' is not functioning as a verb in that sentence. It's a gerund and 'picking up everything' is a noun phrase.

That's good, because "picking" is ordinarily present tense, while "looked" is past.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

"Harry raced through the apartment, picking up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests."

'Picking' is not functioning as a verb in that sentence. It's a gerund and 'picking up everything' is a noun phrase.


If it's a noun phrase, it can be replaced by a simple noun eg beetroot, and grammatically still make sense.

"Harry raced through the apartment, beetroot to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests."

Doesn't look like a noun phrase to me.

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Doesn't look like a noun phrase to me.

I'm not going to try to explain gerunds here, but it is one.

Note that I was careful to specify 'picking' was "functioning as a verb in that sentence." Gerunds are peculiar beasts. They function as the head of a noun phrase within a sentence but can retain some characteristics of verbs within those noun phrases.

I've never seen your "rule" that noun phrases can always be replaced with a simple noun.

One thing I am certain of is that ALL verbs in the continuous tenses are preceded by some form of the be-verb.

Replies:   robberhands
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

It's not wrong to start and sentence with "and" or "but", but it's never recommended.


Watch the movie "Finding Forrester." The boy tells William Forrester (Sean Connery) that it's ok to start a sentence with and or but. And it's even recommended when you want to emphasize it.

I believe that's what Grammar Girl said.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

"picking" is ordinarily present tense,


Actually it's past progressive tense (not present tense).

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The boy tells William Forrester (Sean Connery) that it's ok to start a sentence with and or but. And it's even recommended when you want to emphasize it.

I believe that's what Grammar Girl said.

I agree, and I've used it that way, but sometimes, "However" has more of an impact, especially if you already used "but". It's a balancing act, which word has the most impact in each situation. But the more ponderous "However" is a nice counter to the simpler "but ...".

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Actually ['picking' is] past progressive tense (not present tense).

On its own, 'picking' is a present participle. They may function as nouns, adjectives, or gerunds.

One example of each:
Noun: Grape picking is hard work.
Adjective: The picking season for grapes is short.
Gerund: Picking grapes from the ground, he complained it was hard work.

'Picking' also appears within the verb phrase of all progressive tenses of the verb pick. There are six progressive tenses in the active voice (and another six in the passive voice). Progressive tenses always include some form of the be-verb.

These are the six first-person, singular and progressive tenses of the verb pick in the active voice:
Present Incomplete : I am picking
Present Complete : I have been picking
Past Incomplete : I was picking
Past Complete : I had been picking
Future Incomplete : I will be picking
Future Complete : I will have been picking

The be-verbs in those example are shown in bold font. That, along with the -ing form of the verb, is what characterises the progressive (and active) tenses of all verbs. Contrast that with the complete tenses which are characterised by the presence of some form of the have-verb, shown in italics in the examples above.

So ... in my version of the sentence, 'picking' is a gerund, and it's functioning as the head of the noun phrase 'picking up everything'.

Replies:   richardshagrin  madnige
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I've never seen your "rule" that noun phrases can always be replaced with a simple noun.

Since a noun phrase acts as a noun in a sentence, it seems logical to me the phrase can be replaced by a simple noun.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

it seems logical to me

And English is always logical?

Gerunds are tricky little buggers. Within a sentence, they function as the head of a noun phrase. But, within those noun phrases they retain some functions of verb: while they have no tense, they may still have objects, take prepositions, and be modified by adverbs.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Gerunds are tricky little buggers. Within a sentence, they function as the head of a noun phrase,...

A gerund is a noun, they don't need to function as the head of a noun phrase. That's why your example for a gerund 'as' a noun was bad and misleading.

One example of each:
Noun: Grape picking is hard work.

Your example should have been 'Picking is hard work'.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

All this nit pickin' goin' on - just get a good anti-lice hair wash and da nits is all gone.

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

'picking' is a gerund

Lets add the Imperative tense. Let there be Picking!

Or maybe only Latin has the imperative tense. I learned it because of the motto of the University of Washington, Lux Sit. Sit is the imperative form of to be. "Lux Sit" translates, at least at the UW, as "Let there be light."

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

A gerund is a noun, they don't need to function as the head of a noun phrase.

I agree gerunds are nouns. I think of them as always heading noun phrases, but those phrases may have only one word.

I didn't mention that because what I was trying to describe was already so complex.

Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

Lets add the Imperative tense. Let there be Picking!

The imperative is not considered a tense in English. It is one of three moods, the others being indicative and subjective. Those two have tenses but the imperative does not.

Let there be Picking!

Surely you mean 'Let there be Nitpicking!'

And if there must be nitpicking, I'm going to point out that 'picking' is a noun in that sentence. The main verb of that sentence is 'let', which is in the imperative mood.

But let's not push nitpicking too far.

madnige

@Ross at Play

But let's not push nitpicking too far.


...So, I shouldn't point out that where you wrote above,

So ... in my version of the sentence, 'picking' is a gerund, and it's functioning as the head of the noun phrase 'picking up everything'.

it's should be its?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@madnige

it's should be its?

No. I intended the same meaning as 'it is functioning'.

You could replace it's with its in that sentence - but the result would be incomplete because the second clause would have no verb.

Replies:   madnige
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

The phrase can be replaced by a simple verb, which probably won't result in sensible English but makes sense grammatically. I'm concerned 'picking up' might be a dangling participle, but since it obviously refers to 'Harry' I don't think it really matters.

AJ

robberhands
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Ross: 'Picking' is not functioning as a verb in that sentence. It's a gerund and 'picking up everything' is a noun phrase.

AJ: Doesn't look like a noun phrase to me.

I didn't state it explicitly, but I agree with you.

ETA: dangling participle: a participle intended to modify a noun which is not actually present in the text.

Harry is present.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
madnige

@Ross at Play

the result would be incomplete because the second clause would have no verb.


Good point

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

A participle can be dangling if there is more than one subject it can refer to.

Consider the following rewording:

"Racing through the apartment, Harry picked up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests."

There's only one possible subject the participle can refer to so it's not dangling.

In the original version, it's contextually obvious that the apartment isn't doing the picking up, yet the construction is very similar to a couple of dangling participles I've encountered recently involving two women walking in close proximity where it's not clear whose heels are making the clacking noise.

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

A participle can be dangling if there is more than one subject it can refer to.

*Sigh*. No, a 'dangling participle' is a very specific grammatical term. What you describe is no dangling participle.

Oxford dictionaries:

It's not only participial phrases that can dangle and come adrift from their subjects: they're part of a wider issue that grammarians describe as 'floating modifiers, 'hanging modifiers', 'dangling modifiers' or (again) 'danglers'.


Sleeping in mine orchard, a serpent stung me. (Hamlet)

That's an example for a 'true' dangling participle.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

What you describe is no dangling participle.


We'll have to disagree on that. If it's not clear which possible subject a participle modifies, IMO it's adrift from its subject.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

We'll have to disagree on that.

It'll be my pleasure.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

"Racing through the apartment, Harry picked up everything to put it away so the place looked neat for his expected guests."

I concede that I prefer that sentence over the version I suggested. :-)

I'm not convinced there's any ambiguity or other problem in my version.

Did you know that 'dangling participles' and 'dangling gerunds' are not the same thing? CMOS discusses the former in paragraph 5.112 and the latter in 5.113. Unfortunately I find those explanations almost incomprehensible.

As best I can determine, a participle is dangling if it's unclear which noun it is modifying, but a gerund is dangling if its action is not performed by the nearest subject.

In my sentence the nearest subject is Harry, and there's no ambiguity that the apartment may be doing the picking up, because the apartment is the object of a verb, not a subject.

CMOS states, in that part of 5.113 which seems comprehensible to me:

The best way to correct a dangling gerund is to give the sentence its proper subject.

It provides this example:
WRONG: While driving to San Antonio, my map was lost.
Right: While driving to San Antonio, I lost my map.
It explains that the wrong version is saying the map was driving.

AJ, I'm not sure I'm right about this one; I'm actually sure I'm uncertain. I'd like to understand what is really on here, but I'm not going to continue discussing this if you don't provide any references to support your interpretations. I'm absolutely sure you're uncertain too. :-)

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

While driving to San Antonio, my map was lost.


That's what happens when you don't update your GPS to the latest data. :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Sleeping in mine orchard, a serpent stung me. (Hamlet)

That's an example for a 'true' dangling participle.

I agree with your point but would use different terminology.

According to the definitions in CMOS, that would be a true "dangling gerund". (Refer to my last post) They reserve the expression "dangling participle" for participles being used as modifiers when it's unclear which noun they are modifying.

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

It appears you are very fond of gerunds but 'sleeping' is not a gerund in this sentence.

I [the missing subject] was sleeping in mine orchard, [as] a serpent stung me.

That's the sentence without the dangling participle.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

'sleeping' is not a gerund in this sentence.

I [the missing subject] was sleeping in mine orchard, [as] a serpent stung me.

That's the sentence without the dangling participle.

I understand your point, but I think, technically, the omission of the subject can change the function of a verb to a gerund.

The simple correction to that sentence which occurred to me was to use the correct subject, like this:
Sleeping in mine orchard, I was stung by a serpent.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Sleeping in mine orchard, I was stung by a serpent.

Yep, that's better than my change.

ETA: But please don't say that 'sleeping' is a gerund in that sentence.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

But please don't say that 'sleeping' is a gerund in that sentence.

I'll be happy to stop doing that if you provide any references which present a convincing argument that the phrase 'sleeping in mine orchard' is not functioning as a noun in that sentence. Until then ...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

Re:

While driving to San Antonio, my map was lost.

You wrote:

That's what happens when you don't update your GPS to the latest data. :)

I am unshocked to learn that a GPS has been developed which knows how to drive - but it still can't find the right destination.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Beetroot, I was stung by a serpent ;)

Try googling for something like gerund versus participle. The distinction is not always clear and even the 'experts' disagree, but this one seems obvious to me.

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

Re:

While driving to San Antonio, my map was lost.

I wrote:

That's what happens when you don't update your GPS to the latest data. :)

You wrote:

I am unshocked to learn that a GPS has been developed which knows how to drive - but it still can't find the right destination.


I never said the GPS knew how to drive. It's more like you having a navigator with you reading from a paper map or directions and they don't know where they are. They are lost. You are just following their directions.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

I never said the GPS knew how to drive.

It was a joke based on the actual meaning of the first sentence, which is that 'my map' (aka your GPS) was doing the driving as well as being lost.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

It was a joke based on the actual meaning of the first sentence, which is that 'my map' (aka your GPS) was doing the driving as well as being lost.


Dang, I'll never qualify for the grammar nazi this way. I keep missing the simple stuff. :(

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

I'll never qualify for the grammar [N]azi this way.

I suggest, based on personal experience, you'll be better off concentrating on getting a life instead. :-)

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

"dangling participle"

Maybe a dangling penis?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I agree, and I've used it that way, but sometimes, "However" has more of an impact,


In a book review in my paper yesterday, I was amused to see the critic start a sentence with 'however' rather than 'but', despite very restricted for space.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

In a book review in my paper yesterday, I was amused to see the critic start a sentence with 'however' rather than 'but', despite very restricted for space.

I guess a critic prefers the ponderous 'however'. It provides his critique a weightier appearance.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I guess a critic prefers the ponderous 'however'. It provides his critique a weightier appearance.

In general, starting a sentence with "But" allows you to present an informal and direct counter to what was just said. While starting one with "However" tends to give more weight (hence the desire for the more 'ponderous' term) to the contradiction.

So again, it's largely a judgment call. Do you want the contrast to sound overly formal, give the conclusions extra weight, make it sound light and breezy, but I wouldn't consider the two words directly equivalent. Still, it's a nice way to break up a typical "but ... but ... but ..." argument with yourself in your story.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Maybe a dangling penis?

If your penis is only the same of a single particle (or participle), then maybe there's a good reason it's dangling?

richardshagrin

a good reason it's dangling?


Its not hard. (to disagree with you.)

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