Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (20) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Author: FirCone Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 13987  
Subject: Butting in... Date: 6/20/2011 11:59 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
OK, it's been 1130 posts since I've read this forum. OY. But I come bearing gifts for wordsmiths. At least I think I do. To the point:

Today I was chatting online with some friends and I said,

"My pepper plants are in suspended animation.
Could be a while before they realize their life's goal."


Which then started a perplexing parley as we pursued the proper punctuation. The focus is on 'life's goal' and the relationship to the plural 'peppers'. I think one of the keys is that each plant, while an individual, shares the same goal (reproduce) as all the others.

I don't even know how to phrase the question, but it doesn't seem like "life's goal" is correct. You have a group of individuals, acting independently toward a common goal.

I would love to know how that sentence should be punctuated.
Print the post Back To Top
Author: averagjoe Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11494 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 12:09 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Could be a while before they realize their life's goal.

I would add It to the beginning of the sentence.

~aj

Print the post Back To Top
Author: FirCone Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11495 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 12:13 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Yes, this is a very familiar group and cropped sentences and other shortcuts are common.

But the proper punctuation is bugging me.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11496 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 12:52 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Can you live with "their lives' goal"?
Multiple lives with one goal.
(As opposed to the man who married Siamese twins, who had multiple wives with one...)

Print the post Back To Top
Author: FirCone Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11497 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 12:01 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
We batted that one around.

Sounds weird. But then, they all do.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: discurro Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11498 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 2:08 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
"My pepper plants are in suspended animation.
Could be a while before they realize their life's goal."


I know your question is around the proper punctuation for this, but if I am trying this hard to figure out the correct punctuation, I would just reword the whole thing. Also, I am not a big fan of the anthropomorphizing of the plants.


"My pepper plants are currently dormant. It could be awhile before they reach their full growth."

Print the post Back To Top
Author: culcha Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11499 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/21/2011 8:04 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
... the man who married Siamese twins, who had multiple wives ...

This reminded me of the incredible story of Chang and Eng Bunker -- the original Siamese Twins. Born in Siam (now Thailand), they later settled in North Carolina and became American citizens. They married girls who were sisters -- identical twins, in fact, but not conjoined. They had a bed for four, and Chang and his wife produced 10 children, while Eng and his wife produced 11. Eventually, the sisters squabbled and lived in separate houses. Then Chang and Eng would alternate between spending three days at one sister's house and three days at the other sister's house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_and_Eng_Bunker

culcha

Print the post Back To Top
Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11500 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/23/2011 4:28 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 6
I am not a big fan of the anthropomorphizing of the plants.

Good, because they hate it when people do that!

Print the post Back To Top
Author: sheila727 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11503 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 6/26/2011 12:03 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
I'd make a slight change to avoid that issue altogether, while retaining your meaning (at least in my view).

"Could be a while before they realize their life goal."


sheila

Print the post Back To Top
Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11505 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/2/2011 5:07 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Today I was chatting online with some friends and I said,

"My pepper plants are in suspended animation.
Could be a while before they realize their life's goal."

Which then started a perplexing parley as we pursued the proper punctuation. The focus is on 'life's goal' and the relationship to the plural 'peppers'. I think one of the keys is that each plant, while an individual, shares the same goal (reproduce) as all the others.

I don't even know how to phrase the question, but it doesn't seem like "life's goal" is correct. You have a group of individuals, acting independently toward a common goal.

I would love to know how that sentence should be punctuated.


I think a full stop before the word "could" would work quite well. :-)

Print the post Back To Top
Author: crassfool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11509 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/4/2011 2:57 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
"My pepper plants are in suspended animation.
Could be a while before they realize their life's goal."

Which then started a perplexing parley as we pursued the proper punctuation. The focus is on 'life's goal' and the relationship to the plural 'peppers'. I think one of the keys is that each plant, while an individual, shares the same goal (reproduce) as all the others.

I think it's just fine as it stands. English doesn't follow the supposed rules about agreement in number very well, and if there is a problem with the original, punctuation won't fix it.

If the original seems wrong, I think you have to rewrite it: "Could be a while before they realize their goal in life."

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Esconopeles Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11511 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/4/2011 10:48 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 1
" English doesn't follow the supposed rules about agreement in number very well, and if there is a problem with the original, punctuation won't fix it."

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but if you have not read Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue" you cannot begin to appreciate what a quagmire the English language is, not only for speakers of civilized languages, but for native speakers as well. Fascinating read.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: crassfool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11513 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/4/2011 11:32 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Esconopeles says

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but if you have not read Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue" you cannot begin to appreciate what a quagmire the English language is, not only for speakers of civilized languages, but for native speakers as well. Fascinating read.

I didn't know Bryson had written such a book. Good to know.

Print the post Back To Top
Author: catfyre Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11516 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/6/2011 1:17 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
quagmire

Lovely word, that.




(I picture an impenetrable tangle of fine twigs....)

cat

Print the post Back To Top
Author: legalwordwarrior Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11517 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/6/2011 1:51 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
(I picture an impenetrable tangle of fine twigs....)

Funny, I always picture it as a muddy swamp-like area or bog.

Maybe because we always talk about political quagmires and mudslinging?

LWW

Print the post Back To Top
Author: sheila727 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11521 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/6/2011 10:18 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
(I picture an impenetrable tangle of fine twigs....)
***********************************************
Funny, I always picture it as a muddy swamp-like area or bog.



A quagmire is soft boggy ground, easy to sink into, and it's also used to refer to a precarious situation from which it's very difficult to extricate oneself.

If you can distance yourself from the the sense of something mushy that sucks you in, I guess the impenetrable tangle of fine twigs would function as a quagmire if you're inside and having a rough time getting out!


sheila

Print the post Back To Top
Author: legalwordwarrior Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11524 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/7/2011 9:23 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
If you can distance yourself from the the sense of something mushy that sucks you in, I guess the impenetrable tangle of fine twigs would function as a quagmire if you're inside and having a rough time getting out!

Definitely! I must admit that I do find it amusing that we all tend to see different "pictures" in our minds of what the word brings to mind.

LWW

Print the post Back To Top
Author: Kybele Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11610 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/27/2011 2:39 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Also, I am not a big fan of the anthropomorphizing of the plants.


When used sparingly, it can add color to your speech and writing. When used a lot, you might come off sounding like some Gaia freak. I kinda liked the way it was worded. Opinions on style will vary greatly. Mine is no better than anyone else's.

Christina

Print the post Back To Top
Author: culcha Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11611 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/27/2011 3:25 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
I am not a big fan of the anthropomorphizing of the plants.

I'm not either. They hate it when people that.


culcha

Print the post Back To Top
Author: sheila727 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11612 of 13987
Subject: Re: Butting in... Date: 7/28/2011 11:41 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 0
Also, I am not a big fan of the anthropomorphizing of the plants.


Then why do plants grow better when Mozart is played regularly in their environment? It's been carefully documented!


sheila

Print the post Back To Top
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (20) | Ignore Thread Prev Thread | Next Thread
Advertisement