According to John Sutherland in today's Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1159035,00.html

>
I have to say that I don't think question two contains its own answer as there is no sign of a semi-colon (I have copied & pasted direct from the Guardian website - the article appears as it does in print)

And Q3 seems silly. 'In terms of sense' the two statements are pretty much indistinguishable unless more context is given. Imagine a news conference :

Policeman - The butler stole the necklace
Reporter - It was the butler who stole the necklace? Policeman - No, the butler stole the necklace
Reporter Why can't you say it was the butler who stole the necklace? Policeman - Apparently, it doesn't mean the same thing. Reporter - But the butler did it?
Policeman - Oh yes. No doubt there.
And the analogy 'Reading literature without knowing the parts of speech is like practising brain surgery with your fingers' sounds like the product of a fevered mind. Analysing* literature might be difficult if you don't know the difference between a noun and a verb, but *reading* (and understanding) 'Animal Farm', 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Howl' *can be done perfectly well without knowing the first thing about parts of speech. Difficult tending to impossible if English is learned as a foreign language, but hardly when you learn it as native speech. Shirley?

John Dean
Oxford
1 2 3 4
1. Give me, quickly if you please, an example of an adverbial phrase.

Presumably "quickly" is the adv. phrase. Can a single adverb be an adverbial phrase, or do we need two or more?
2. When would you use a colon: when would you use a semi-colon?

Is there something wrong with (2)?
Q. When would you use a colon?
A. Not at the end of a question.
3. What is the difference (in terms of sense) between the following: (a) "The butler stole the necklace" (b) "It was the butler who stole the necklace"?

The only difference in sense, to my mind, is that (b) adds emphasis to the subject. All sorts of hypotheses might flow from that.

R.
1. Give me, quickly if you please, an example of an adverbial phrase.

Presumably "quickly" is the adv. phrase. Can a single adverb be an adverbial phrase, or do we need two or more?

Forget that! "quickly if you please" is probably the adv. phrase.

R.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
According to John Sutherland in today's Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1159035,00.html . . . 3. What is the difference (in terms of sense) ... And Q3 seems silly. 'In terms of sense' the two statements are pretty much indistinguishable unless more context is given.

I would differ only saying that no context is
needed. There is no difference in terms of
sense. (The difference is in rhetorical style.)
Unless intended to filter out students who have
the confidence to challenge nonsensical
questions, the question is silly.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
-sni
3. What is the difference (in terms of sense) between the following: (a) "The butler stole the necklace" (b) "It ... the first sentence describes something happening, the second sentence records something that has happened. One is descriptive, the other presuppositional.

snip
Reading literature without knowing the parts of speech is like practising brain surgery with your fingers. >>

snip
And Q3 seems silly. 'In terms of sense' the two statements are pretty much indistinguishable unless more context is given.

snip
And the analogy 'Reading literature without knowing the parts of speech is like practising brain surgery with your fingers' sounds ... Farm', 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Howl' can be done perfectly well without knowing the first thing about parts of speech.

I agree that Q3 seems silly,but as for his comment about "reading literature", wasn't he using that in the UK sense of "studying literature at university" rather than "reading a book"?

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
According to John Sutherland in today's Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1159035,00.html

If these students are going to write for the dear old Graun, a test of spelling and basic subbing techniques would be a lot more appropriate.
2. When would you use a colon: when would you use a semi-colon? The first two questions contain their own answers.

I can only suppose that the smug twerp who set this question thinks we should all be saying "but that colon should be a semicolon - the answer should be" -
2. When would you use a colon:

"Not like that"
when would you use a semi-colon?

"In the place of that colon we just got rid of"
I'd divide this into two sentences split by a full stop/period anyway. But really, who knows? Makes one quite nostalgic to know the papers still contain this sort of drivel.
D:C
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
According to John Sutherland in today's Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1159035,00.html

If these students are going to write for the dear old Graun, a test of spelling and basic subbing techniques would be a lot more appropriate.

He's talking about students at his University.

John Dean
Oxford
Or a question mark. I agree. I bet there will be a letter or two to the editor in tomorrow's paper.
I think Sutherland would blame it on typesetter error except there aren't any typesetters any more.
The answers he gives about the butler/necklace question are worse.

Best Donna Richoux
On 01 Mar 2004, John Dean wrote

Reading literature without knowing the parts of speech is like ... your fingers' sounds like the product of a fevered mind.

I agree that Q3 seems silly,but as for his comment about "reading literature", wasn't he using that in the UK sense of "studying literature at university" rather than "reading a book"?

That's possible, though University courses usually have more specific titles - 'English Lit', 'American Lit' etc.
The English Dept at UCL, where Sutherland is a Prof, don't seem to have a degree course for undergraduates including 'literature ' in its name -

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate-degrees/arts-and-humanities/english/index.shtml ( http://makeashorterlink.com/?B28A32397 )
And 'reading' in that sense seems to be passing out of favour. Even the contestants on University Challenge rarely use it these days.

John Dean
Oxford
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more