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This sentence looks wrong to me...Please help and tell me why!

They have appeared on message boards and in blogs, and spread by word of mouth.
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jglass11This sentence looks wrong to me...Please help and tell me why!
I can't even begin to guess why the sentence looks wrong to you. Perhaps it's because it is ambiguous whether spread is a present tense or a past participle in an implied passive construction. You could change the sentence to remove the ambiguity, but then you'd have to know which of those interpretations the writer originally intended.

CJ
Thank you for replying. It appears wrong because I thought ONLY independent clauses could be connected with , and . I also thought have would need to be inserted before spread to keep the tense the same as the first clause. Am I mistaken???
Thanks again.
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Thank you for replying.

The reason I believed it to be incorrect was because I thought that ONLY independent clauses were to be joined by, and and not one indep. with one dep. clause. Secondly, I thought have was needed before spread to keep a single tense. Am I mistaken???
Thank you again
jglass
jglass11This sentence looks wrong to me...Please help and tell me why!

They have appeared on message boards and in blogs, and spread by word of mouth.

Hello

Yes, you are correct in thinking that something is wrong with that sentence. This is the reason:

The verb ‘have appeared’ in the first clause is in the perfect aspect, but the tense of the verb ‘spread’ in the second clause is uncertain, which is why you can sense that something is wrong. The writer may have intended it all to be in the perfect aspect in which case ‘spread’ is a participle, requiring its own auxiliary verb (like ‘have’) to complete the tense:

‘They have appeared (perfect) on message boards and in blogs, and have spread (perfect) by word of mouth’.

Or, the verb in the second clause could be in the passive voice:

‘They have appeared (perfect) on message boards and in blogs, and have been spread (perfect passive) by word of mouth’.

There are other ways the writer could have worded the sentence, but those are two possibilities.

Concerning your question about the conjoining of clauses; although each of the second clauses above may seem dependent because it appears to have no subject, that’s not actually the case. ‘They’ is the subject of both clauses, but it is left out of the second clause because it would otherwise repeat what has been said in the first clause. This process is called ellipsis, so all the clauses above are independent.

Bill J

jglass11I thought have was needed before spread to keep a single tense.
That would be a good solution:

They have appeared on message boards and in blogs and have spread by word of mouth.

There are no dependent clauses here, by the way --- just an independent clause with a compound predicate.

CJ
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CalifJim
jglass11I thought have was needed before spread to keep a single tense.
That would be a good solution:

They have appeared on message boards and in blogs and have spread by word of mouth.

There are no dependent clauses here, by the way --- just an independent clause with a compound predicate.

CJ

This is not a question of predicate, compound (whatever that means) or otherwise.

This is a straightforward example of a compound sentence containing TWO independent clauses, linked by the conjunction 'and'':

[They have appeared on message boards and in blogs] and [(they) have spread by word of mouth].

You can tell there are two clauses because there are TWO VERBS (have appeared and have spread, or the passive have been spread). A clause can contain only one verb, and there are two in this sentence. As I said in my previous post, the second clause does have a subject (they) but it is ellipted.

Incidentally, although in my earlier post I suggested the same apect for each clause, it's absolutely fine (and very common indeed) in a compound sentence, to have different tenses/aspects:

I arrived (simple past) promptly, but the match had started (past perfective) already.

Bill J

BillJ
This is not a question of predicate, compound (whatever that means) or otherwise.

This is a straightforward example of a compound sentence containing TWO independent clauses, linked by the conjunction 'and'':

[They have appeared on message boards and in blogs] and [(they) have spread by word of mouth].

You can tell there are two clauses because there are TWO VERBS (have appeared and have spread, or the passive have been spread). A clause can contain only one verb, and there are two in this sentence. As I said in my previous post, the second clause does have a subject (they) but it is ellipted.

Bill J

Umm... Bill, you have been misinformed. A clause can certainly have two verbs. That's called a compound predicate. I washed my face and brushed my teeth and went to bed. That is not three independenct clauses with the subject omitted from the second and third. It's one independent clause with three predicates - and perfectly okay!

Dear friend,

as various different and mutually exclusive opinions have already been expressed (and of them surely reflects reality), I would like to comment on this issue by summarising the essence of the matter.

1. Your question concerns the fact that your language knowledge and intuition tell you that the cited sentence is somehow out of order, and, by carefully studying the linear structure of the sentence, one may conclude that it is indeed structurally ambiguous (have been spread vs have spread). It is, of course, impracticable to find out the original intention of the writer, though I resume that the second alternative (have spread) is more plausible in these circumstances. Have been spread, if indeed ellipted, could be frowned upon, because coordination normally requires strict ellipsis.

2. And, as a coordinator, can only link independent and equal structures, you're quite right in thinking this way. The point is that the two clauses in this sentence are indeed independent, so no difficulty should arise. Concerning the same tense in coordinated parts, it has already been said that it is often not the case, and I fully agree.

3. There is a number of arguments in favour of the view that the sentence in question is a compound one, its immediate constituents being two coordinate clauses. Firstly, it features initial subject+operator ellipsis in the second clause, and the original thought that it expresses is...
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