More in-depth grammar - cvs 20020922

Bill Maltby LFS Related lfsbill at
Mon Sep 23 06:28:41 PDT 2002

On Mon, 23 Sep 2002, Antony Stone wrote:

> On Monday 23 September 2002 1:41 pm, Bill Maltby LFS Related wrote:
> > On Mon, 23 Sep 2002, Antony Stone wrote:
> > > On Monday 23 September 2002 6:12 am, Bill Maltby LFS Related wrote:
> > > > II. Part II - Installing the LFS system
> > > >
> > > > Chapter 3:
> > > > Introduction:
> > > >
> > > >   Get preposition off end of sentence from:
> > > >     ... work and which this book is based upon.
> > > >   To:
> > > >     ... work, and this book is based upon them.
> > >
> > > Wouldn't this be better ?
> > >
> > >     ... work, and upon which this book is based.
> >
> > I had considered that. But a knowledgeable friend who works in the
> > international arena has spent considerable effort introducing me to the
> > difficulties experienced by users that have English as a second language.
> > ,snip>

> Okay, that makes sense, but I'm afraid I feel that to a non-native English 
> speaker, the original form with the trailing preposition is actually the 
> easiest to understand, even though it may not meet the highest standards of 
> grammatical style.
> I think it's one of those choices where you can go for correctness, or 
> readability, or get an uncomfortable compromise between the two....

Agreed. It is so damn subjective and trying to guess which seems clearer
to others. I do, however, now believe the more active "and this book is
based upon them" is better than the original, in terms of conveying what
is being said.
> > > > Chapter 4:
> > > > Creating a new partition:
> > > >   Change improper capitalization from:
> > > >     If a Linux Native partition is...
> > > >   To:
> > > >     If a Linux native partition is
> > >
> > > Actually I think the original capitalisation is more appropriate, because
> > > <snip>

> > Disagree. "Native" is an adjective, one of many that can be used to fur-
> > <snip>

> In that case I suggest putting 'Linux native' in quotation marks in order to 
> emphasise that it's a composite adjectival phrase.

That was my first thought also - it provides emphasis. But I took a look
at the style of the book overall. For instance, command names are not
capitalized at the beginning of sentences. I believe there is good reason
for this and a concious decision was probably made to use that style. So,
trying to step into what they might have thought when making that de-
cision, I felt that the surrounding quotes may not have met their goals.

Specifically, it might emphasize that it was a "composite adjectival
phrase", but it might distract from the conveyance of the information. So
I am explicitly *not* addressing items that I see that appear to be deci-
sions made explicitly to accomplish the book's goals.

> Otherwise I believe there is a risk that people unfamiliar with disk
> partitioning may think 'native partition' is a standard concept, and
> we're merely talking about a Linux version of one....

Well, I good streetchhhh the concept and make an argument that there is
such a thing with an OS modifer associated with it. But...

> Antony.

BTW, so there is no misunderstanding - I am not a language major of any
kind. It bores me stiff. And I am not pedantic about this stuff either. I
am doing this because I have derived a great deal from the book and lists
and have yet to contribute anything of significance. So, having monitored
the list somewhat religiously for a long time, when Gerard recently said
to give the new stuff a workout, I looked for a way to contribute. I have
observed that the editors carry a great burden and have no consistent help
in checking for the occasional errors that creep in. Who is going to sit
down and pore through the book just trying to help with these type of
things? Not many - they are busy running things. So I felt that maybe I
could help in that way.

That is why you are seeing these posts at this time. And because I am not
expert, I always put that warning about watching for my mistakes. I had
not thought of it until now - I might appear to be making points at the
expense of the editors. That is not the case and I would gladly cease and
desist if anybody suggests it. Not an emotional issue at all.

Bill Maltby
billm at

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