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exposed to 'breaking' ties and 'creating' ...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Renatrix, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    The sentence says:"Children are exposed to breaking ties and creating insecure attachment styles." It's not correct in my opinion, but I have no idea how to correct it. It is supposed to mean that bonds between children and their parents/caregivers are often broken off (because children are sick or have disabilities) and in consequence they may develop insecure attachment styles.
    "Children are exposed to tie/bond breaking and are at risk of creating/forming insecure attachment styles."?
    "Children are exposed to ties/bonds that break off and are at risk of creating/forming insecure attachment styles."?
    "Children are at risk of ties/bonds being broken and of creating/forming insecure attachment styles."?
    I would appreciate your help.
     
  2. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    I agree it's a sloppy sentence. Is it a translation? If I understand what the writer's trying to say, I'd say something like: Children are at risk of losing contact with their parents/guardians/foster parents (or whatever the context is) and may be able to form only insecure relationships with them. But someone else may have a better idea.

    You can't be exposed to breaking ties. You can be exposed to danger and you can be in danger of falling off a cliff. But you can't be exposed to falling off a cliff. If a friend decided to take a mistress, I wouldn't say You're exposed to breaking ties. I'd say You're putting your marriage at risk.
    I'm not sure what an attachment style is supposed to be. Is it supposed to be analogous to a style of writing or singing? An insecure relationship with someone isn't something I'd want to 'create'. And if I were a child I wouldn't have so much control over the situation that I'd be able to 'create' anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  3. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    I agree that the sentence, without context, could have been written better and I would take it to mean:

    "Children are exposed to lifestyles in which relationships break (breaking ties) and other relationships that are probably destined to fail (creating insecure attachment styles.)"

    However, it is possible that "
    breaking ties and creating insecure attachment styles" have been referenced earlier in the piece, in which case, the sentence may be OK.
     
  4. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    This sentence is from a summary of an article on reactive attachment disorder, translated by the author from Polish into English. So I have the original sentence (and the translation, which I gave you in my first post), and I like "to be exposed to" here, but it doesn't seem grammatically correct to me the way it is now. And the sentences you suggest are too different from the original version.
     
  5. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    There is quite a difference between being exposed to something (being present when it happens) and being at risk of something (being in danger of doing it). Which do you really mean?
     
  6. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    Children (especially the ones with disabilities) are rather passive in the process of forming attachment with their caregivers - they can not help it when they are separated from their parents because e.g. a treatment they need to undergo. Maybe 'passive' is not the best word - what I mean is that they are dependent on their parents whether they will become attached to them or not. It also depends on their disability - so they "are exposed to breaking ties" - the my experience it. In consequence they 'are at risk of forming insecure attachment styles" - again, it's something that does not depend on them - it happens because they didn't get appropriate attention form their parents.
     
  7. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    That context was essential. You should have included it in the first post.

    I would now say, "Children are exposed to lifestyles in which parental relationships are frequently and necessarily broken and replaced by relationships of a temporary nature."
     
  8. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    The phrase insecure attachment styles is correct jargon (or perhaps I should say terminology).
     
  9. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    If you read the entry on reactive attachment disorder in Wikipedia, you will see different types of attachment styles, insecure being one of them, so it's correct. The question is what verb and what structure to use. From what you have said I understand that the verb "to be exposed to" cannot be followed by an -ing verb.
    By the way, is "relationships of a temporary nature" correct? Shouldn't it be "of temporary nature"? I spend a lot of time trying to understand the use of articles in English (the rules I know cannot explain all cases) and I still find it confusing. I read a lot of academic articles in English and I see sentences like this, e.g.: "Mothers of children with Down syndrome were older than the mothers of children in the other two groups." The first mothers also belong to a specific group under study. Why no article? I probably should start a new thread, shouldn't I?
     
  10. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    I stand corrected on styles, although creating a style still sounds odd to me. It sounds as though someone's carefully crafting a style like a sculptor carefully crafting a sculpture. But I suppose sociologists have a language of their own.

    Exposed can't be followed by an -ing verb. If you're standing near a bomb, you'll be exposed to the blast if it goes off. You're in danger of being killed. But you aren't exposed to being killed.

    It's always a(an)+adjective+nature. Nature here means kind or sort. It doesn’t mean the natural world as in He likes nature.

    Personally I wouldn't see anything wrong with than mothers, especially as you've got Mothers of children with Down's syndrome. It's a subtle point. Perhaps, although the mothers belong to specific groups, we don't know exactly who they are. Consider:
    People who think things are going to be easy are in for a shock.
    Children who don't work hard don't pass their exams.
    Although people and children belong to specific groups, they're something of an amorphous mass.
    In addition, writers often omit the definite article when they're trying to effect a business-like style. You even see things like Architect John Smith, i.e. the name of the profession followed by the person’s name – a lazy style of writing, I think.
     
  11. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    The wider question about the article would need a new thread. There are many already on that topic. However, there is a relevant point here.
    That is true, if it implies that the person exposed is the same as the person doing the action of the '-ing' verb.
    That is exactly the problem with the original sentence: the structure of it created that implication, which is contrary to your meaning.

    You could avoid that implication by saying:
    'Children are exposed to the breaking of ties and the creation of insecure attachment styles.'

    Here the insertion of the definite article breaks the connection between the sentence subject ('children') and the verbal noun ('breaking').
     
  12. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    Although I take wandle's point, I still wouldn't say The boat started to leak so we were exposed to the sinking of the boat or We were exposed to the court('s) confiscating our property. I'd say something like The boat was in danger of sinking or We risked having our property confiscated by the court.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  13. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Well, there you are talking about a different situation.

    The use of the term 'exposed to' in the original quote (from an academic paper) and the questioner's desire to retain that term strongly suggest that a comparison is being made between different populations of children, one of which would over time be exposed to the risks mentioned, while others would not. 'Exposed to' is the correct term for such a situation.
     
  14. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    I agree you can be exposed to a risk. Some children are exposed to the risk of losing contact with their parents. Other's aren't. I'm not sure I'm talking about a different situation, though. I can be exposed to the risk of losing contact with my parents (although not exposed to losing contact...) or I can be exposed to the risk of having my property confiscated (although not exposed to the court's confiscating my property).
    Perhaps we'll have to agree to disagree.
     
  15. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    It still seems to me that these are examples of a different kind. Yours involve an individual faced with a specific situation.

    The original post deals with a population exposed to a generic phenomenon. It is not difficult to find examples of similar usage.

    U. S. Dept. of Justice
    Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence
    Attorney General Eric Holder’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence today presented its final report and policy recommendations gathered from public hearings held across the country over the past year.

    Science Omega
    Children in UK are more exposed to alcohol promotion than adults
    Experts are calling for a complete ban on alcohol-related advertising and sponsorship in the United Kingdom after a study revealed that British children are more exposed to promotional campaigns than their parents.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  16. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    'Children are exposed to the breaking of ties and the creation of insecure attachment styles.'
    If it's grammatically correct, I choose this version but maybe I should replace 'creation' with 'forming' or 'formation' as someone said that the verb 'create' is not a good choice here? Now when I look at the Polish sentence I see it doesn't sound well either, because it looks as if children where responsible for this 'tie breaking' and 'insecure attachment forming'. And I think that the author means that children are not subjects but objects in this process.
    Could 'Children are put at risk of having their ties broken and of forming insecure attachment styles.' be another grammatically correct option?
     
  17. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Yes, 'formation' is better than 'creation'.
    If the word 'risk' is introduced, it is better followed by nouns than verbs in this context.
    'Children are put at risk (or 'exposed to the risk') of broken family ties and insecure attachment styles.'
     
  18. Renatrix Senior Member

    polski
    Thank you all:)
     

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