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Redirected questions, from other forums...

 
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject: Redirected questions, from other forums... Reply with quote

Often people new to Dave's post general language questions in quite obscure places, when they'd be better (that is, would get a much faster response) by posting on the AL forum (which we all kind of acknowledge is the default grammar forum, because so many pedagogical implications are thrown up by any consideration of grammar).

So, to start this thread off, there was one such recent post on a thread on the ESP forum. I won't supply the link, because I've suggested that we continue any discussion here rather than there, and towards this end, have quoted below from that thread:

Ms.mcGlover wrote:
My students came up with some wuestions I can't find the answers to.
Why do we say difference in culture rather than difference of culture?
And, in these sentences " Sweeten to taste as desired" or "Add sugar as needed" Why is the verb in past tense? Is it conditional? What is the subject?
Please help. Thanks, Sarah


In reply, I wrote:
I'm pretty sure it is a ("passive"*) participle and not a past-tense verb. The subject and verb can be omitted/ellipted as they aren't necessary (for native speakers, anyway) to understand the instructions (obviously).

We could, if necessary, expand the sentence to make things clearer for learners: [Sweeten to taste] [as (and when/if) desired (by you or whoever)].

The above could also be expressed actively: Sweeten to taste if you desire (it/want (to (do that))).

Viewing it as a sort of conditional seems valid ('if' can replace 'as (and when)'), but that was not the central concern here.

I wouldn't necessarily object to 'a difference of culture' (I don't expect students to know every little native collocation when it comes to expressing themselves, if indeed 'a difference of culture' is a non-native oddity - I haven't checked the statistics, and don't feel offhand as a native speaker that it is that unclear or odd), but it must be said that 'a difference in culture(s)', 'a difference between cultures' and 'a cultural difference' or 'cultural differences' do all sound better. This is the sort of instance where it is probably better to ask 'How can I express this, and how do most people express it?' rather than 'Why is it (not) expressed in this manner?'.

*I hesitate to call it a passive because there is no verb 'BE'. Perhaps we should call this a "verbless clause" - 'an adverbial clause with ellipsis of the verb be and the subject.' (Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, pg 261).


and then:

Quote:
I've asked guys over on the Applied Linguistics forum (haunt of some "mean" grammarians Laughing ) to take a look at your questions, Sarah, and offer their take on things. I'd like to suggest that we all continue whatever discussion there rather than here (please follow link below).


Obviously, the link given there leads to here!

I've given what I feel is a reasonable answer, but if anyone fancies improving upon it, be my guest! Most of us could stand to learn something, or at least see something better expressed than we were(n't!) able to express it. Razz
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revel



Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 532

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: At the risk of.... Reply with quote

Good morning all!

At the risk of simplifying....

The use of the preposition in the first sentence defies explanation beyond "That's how it's said in English."

I would simplify the "desired" and "needed" by pointing out that in the examples given these words are acting as adjectives and the adjective form of the verb is its past participle. I tend to avoid grinding examples through the conditional mill. "I need sugar." "How much sugar is needed?" "The needed sugar is as much as you want to put to satisfy your own taste buds."

Let the insulting begin! Twisted Evil

peace,
revel.
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't it like " a difference of 5 in the temperature".

"The British kiss less than the Spanish. It's a difference in* culture"

* inside/within culture
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JuanTwoThree wrote:
Isn't it like " a difference of 5 in the temperature".

"The British kiss less than the Spanish. It's a difference in* culture"

* inside/within culture


Good examples.
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