a fishing man or a man who was fishing

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Garbuz, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Garbuz Senior Member

    I asked a man who was fishing where Bobby Watson lived.

    Is it possible to say '... a fishing man'?
  2. Niblib Senior Member

    English - Australia
    A fishermen would work better.
  3. Bigote Blanco Senior Member

    Hello Garbuz,
    That is close, but it is not correct.

    You may ask a "fisherman"

    I asked a fisherman where Bobby Watson lived .

    A fisherman asked me where he could buy some worms.
  4. moonglade

    moonglade Member

    English - American
    "Fisherman" would change the meaning from a man who is fishing to a man who is known for fishing.

    "A fishing man" is technically correct, but is an uncommon arrangement.
  5. Bigote Blanco Senior Member

    "A fishy man" is also correct, but this does not fit the sentence either.:)
  6. Garbuz Senior Member

    So the best way is:

    I asked a man who was fishing where B.W. lived.


    It's just occurred to me. How about this:

    I asked a man fishing there where B.W. lived.
  7. moonglade

    moonglade Member

    English - American
    This would work if you had just explained where "there" was.
  8. Garbuz Senior Member

    Yes, I understand. I just thought if we give the participle some extention, the clause can be reduced.
  9. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    For some reason the verb sounds very bad there. I would never say 'a fishing man'. Yet the structure is grammatically sound: a sleeping baby, a crying baby, a falling branch, a dying swan, a burning log. But we wouldn't talk about a :cross:skiing man, a :cross:playing child: my guess is that the disallowed ones are more or less organized human activities (compare playing with crying), but I can't see why that makes a grammatical difference.

    Note that in all these the noun is accented: a crying 'child, a burning 'log. If you use the gerundial noun (the name of activities such as skiing and fishing) you can use that noun as a modifier, but it gets the accent: a 'skiing instructor, a 'fishing expert. (A fishing expert is an expert on fishing, not an expert who is fishing.)
  10. Garbuz Senior Member

    Thank you very much, entangledbank. I guess, in that sense the combination 'a dancing girl' can be understood differently, depending on which word you stress.

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