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...so the bad guy picks up a girlfriend and clobbers the victim with her? Form The Daily Kos:

"Jeffries was once the victim of a home invasion in which he was tied up and beaten with his girlfriend,..."
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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The perpetrator beat the guy and his girlfriend, right?
 
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I suppose so, but that's not what the article said.
 
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That's how it reads to me. How does it read to you? I must be missing something.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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K. replace "beaten with his girlfriend" by "beaten with a stick" and you'll see the problem.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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misplaced modifier
 
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A gorgeous example of writing that is poor enough to be outright wrong!


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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Ahhh!!!!

Does anyone here really think he was beaten with his girlfriend being the weapon? While you can argue misplaced modifier and "poor enough to be outright wrong," I doubt anyone understood it the other way. I'm just saying...

Still, rewording would be in order.
 
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Of course not but it does cause a momentary stumble and a little chuckle at the inconguous image. Anyway you are the alleged "literalist". It should be you who reads it the "wrong" way. Big Grin


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I read t the "wrong" way at first, which is why it caught my attention.

Since Mr Jeffries is an Australian comedian, I'm surprised that he didn't pick up on it himself. Or maybe he did. And I wonder what the girlfriend thought of it?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:


Does anyone here really think he was beaten with his girlfriend being the weapon?

Yes. The guy couldn't find a club, so he beat him with his girlfriend.
 
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quote:
Does anyone here really think he was beaten with his girlfriend[sic] being the weapon?
... certainly not, but we were talking about his diction (or at least I was), and that could hardly have been wronger! Smile


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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You "sic'd" me? Frown
 
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Hi Kalleh;

Yes, for I simply couldn't resist, after participating in the Apostrophe Forum, after all! Wink Many years ago this was the subject of my very first posting in that Forum. I suggest the sentence should be:
quote:
Does anyone here really think he was beaten with his girlfriend's being the weapon?
... BTW, I fully expect Goofy to come charging outta' da' bushes to tell me that your sentence is jes' fine! Big Grin


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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What part of his girlfriend's?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by WeeWilly:
BTW, I fully expect Goofy to come charging outta' da' bushes to tell me that your sentence is jes' fine! Big Grin


Yeah it is. I don't understand your correction at all. His girlfriend's what?
 
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Hi Goofy;

Oh dear! Actually the possessive before a gerund is [traditionally] correct. So "I never liked Tom's singing in the shower." is to be preferred over "I never liked Tom singing in the shower."

Anyway, as mentioned, I was for some years a member of the Apostrophe Forum, and this was, of course, a subject that came up. But North Americans pretty-well always miss this, and I expected to be challenged on it. Indeed, I was amazed to note this construction's being used correctly in a fairly recent episode of The Good Wife, I think it was.

All that aside, Kalleh's sentence is still an interesting one, and I am almost tempted to take it to the Apostrophe Forum for discussion, because it is not as clear-cut as my "Tom" examples. Without doubt (at least for me), part of the problem is Kalleh's opting to use "being" rather than "as", and this adds all sorts of grey here.

Anyway, this construction is so often missed (ie, without the possessive) that it is considered quite acceptable, but the imp had me it its grip and I couldna' resist the [very pedantic] "sic"! This is a language forum, after all!


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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Oh I see. Because the noun proceeds a gerund, you think it has to be possessive. There's nothing wrong with non-possessives before gerunds.
https://motivatedgrammar.wordp...dian-knot-is-flawed/
 
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quote:
Because the noun proceeds a gerund, you think it has to be possessive.
...I did say "this construction is so often missed (ie, without the possessive) that it is considered quite acceptable."


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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quote:
All that aside, Kalleh's sentence is still an interesting one, and I am almost tempted to take it to the Apostrophe Forum for discussion, because it is not as clear-cut as my "Tom" examples
Well please don't. I know a little about that forum and I don't want to be called "stupid."
 
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Good God, Kalleh, I think not! Your example sentence is not a clear-cut case for the apostrophe, and just think how that forum could agonize over it! Of course, I shall not take it there if you don't want, but it is an interesting sentence none-the-less. My "sic" was totally tongue-in-cheek, and completely meant in fun. So, give it nary a passing thought!

However, I did expect it to draw down the response it did from Goofy, and I'll start a separate thread on prescriptivism, and my view of it!


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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quote:
Originally posted by WeeWilly:
...I did say "this construction is so often missed (ie, without the possessive) that it is considered quite acceptable."


You also said you heard it used correctly recently.
 
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Indeed, Goofy, I did but I cannot remember for sure which program it was in, for I only noted it in passing. It occurred within the last couple of weeks, and since The Good Wife is the only American entertainment I see on any sort of regular basis, I suspect it was there!

This use of the possessive before a gerund still occurs frequently enough, even in North American diction, not to be a red-letter event (even if it does rate a salute). Nonetheless, grammar and good language usage has largely been thrown under the bus in North American culture. But I still recall with pleasure an old episode of Hawaii Five-O, where one character remarked, "Well, if it isn't the ubiquitous Mr. Garrett!" Smile


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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Do you have comment on the diction in the following remark?
quote:
I loathe Microsoft Corporation’s dominating the marketplace, and I am delighted to note its being challenged today!


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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The reason I wrote "You also said you heard it used correctly recently" is because I was trying to explain why I wrote "you think it has to be possessive" earlier.

MWDEU has a nice discussion of the possessive with the gerund. The earliest usage commentators didn't like the possessive before a gerund. Constructions both with and without possessives have been used by writers, and sometimes both constructions have been used very close together. MWDEU concludes that whether you use a possessive or not depends on what you want to emphasize.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Of course, I shall not take it there if you don't want, but it is an interesting sentence none-the-less.

Ah, well. What the heck. Go ahead, if you wish. I was there when Wordcraft first started. Some of their posters came here, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was a bit too opinionated (when they clearly were wrong) and abrasive for me. One of my favorite language places is Language Log.
 
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It was a bit too opinionated (when they clearly were wrong)

The problem was (and still is so far as I know) that John Richards, its soi-disant Chairman, appears to be an avatar of Robert Harwell Fiske, whom we've recently been discussing, with his ipse dixit proclamations. Anyone who disagreed with his ideas would find their posts deleted since he owned the board. I understand that he does allow a modicum of dissent and discussion there nowadays, but not 12 or so years ago when I gave up posting there in disgust and moved here.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Oh my gosh, he deleted posts just because there was disagreement? Boy, I'd be deleting away every day here. Wink
 
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Goofy:
quote:
whether you use a possessive or not depends on what you want to emphasize.
...true or, let us say, that it depends on what one means. The following two sentences are both correct, but have two quite distinct meanings:
quote:
I didn't like the boy shouting at the passing car.
and
quote:
I didn't like the boy's shouting at the passing car.
... In the first, it is the boy I didn't like, and "shouting" is the adjective used to describe him. In the second, it is the shouting I didn't like, and the sentence offers no opinion about the boy himself. My lament (if lament it be) is that the first sentence is often misused as a substitute for the second. Cheers.


"The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying" - Grahame
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
he deleted posts just because there was disagreement?

Not just because there was disagreement, only if there was disagreement with him.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Oh, that is terrible, arnie.

Perhaps it's being American, but, WeeWilly, in your examples above I'd consider the first example, with no apostrophe, to mean I didn't like the shouting, too. However, I agree it could be ambiguous because you could mean you didn't like the boy. So I suppose the second is preferable. (Hey, we're agreeing!)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by WeeWilly:
... In the first, it is the boy I didn't like, and "shouting" is the adjective used to describe him. In the second, it is the shouting I didn't like, and the sentence offers no opinion about the boy himself.


I agree.

quote:
Originally posted by WeeWilly:
My lament (if lament it be) is that the first sentence is often misused as a substitute for the second.


I disagree. This distinction is one of formal writing, so it doesn't make sense to apply it to other kinds of language. I suspect that in informal writing we use either one if the distinction isn't important. Anyway, there are other factors involved. The possessive is found much more often with pronouns than with nouns, so it's not just about emphasis.
 
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