a long pole attached to (which are) one or two short handles

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Oxfords dictioanries, "scythe":

a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or corn, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to one or two short handles (BE)

a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or wheat, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to which are one or two short handles (AE)

Does the former sound natural? Something bigger attached to something smaller...:confused:
Thank you.
 
  • RocketScience

    Senior Member
    English - England
    They're pretty much identical in meaning, except the second one (marked American English) will be more awkward to say and sounds a little pretentious to me, but I'm not American, so it's probably a national preference.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    How did you arrive at the distinction between BE and AE? Are they both given in the same dictionary as definitions of "scythe"?

    I seriously think that you are asking the wrong question here. Your question should be, "Why doesn't the first sentence have the words "to which are" in it?" To which the answer would be, "Poor editing."

    However, if we were to describe a sickle, we could say, "A hand-held tool for cutting grass or cereal crops that consists of a long curved blade attached to a short handle."
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Onthemightofprinces -- it might be awkward, but still, sounds more logical, doesn't it?
    Paul, yes, both in the same dictionary, "scythe". But why "the wrong question"?
    "... at the end of a long pole to which one or two short handles are attached" -- would mean that smaller ones are attached to a bigger one -- that would be logical and natural, right?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I still do not know how you are able to distinguish one version as BE (which, in this particular case, sounds strange to me) and the other as AE. It isn't something from Collin's Cobuild, is it?

    a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or corn, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to one or two short handles (BE) :cross:

    a tool used for cutting crops such as grass or wheat, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to which are one or two short handles (AE) :tick:
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't see any problem with a larger object attached to a smaller or a smaller attached to a larger.

    The only concern I have with the first of these two sentences is its ambiguity. If you misunderstood it you might envision a curved blade at the end of a long pole with one or two short handles attached to the blade. The second description is superior because it clarifies that the short handles are attached to the long pole.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I don't see any problem with a larger object attached to a smaller or a smaller attached to a larger.

    The only concern I have with the first of these two sentences is its ambiguity. If you misunderstood it you might envision a curved blade at the end of a long pole with one or two short handles attached to the blade. The second description is superior because it clarifies that the short handles are attached to the long pole.
    ... I thought that to misunderstand it the way you described it should've had a comma before "attached", am I wrong?
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    ... I thought that to misunderstand it the way you described it should've had a comma before "attached", am I wrong?
    Possibly so, but I believe if you depend on your readers correctly noting and interpreting the absence a comma in order to fully understand a definition when you could add two words to make it explicit, you are doing your readers a disservice.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The main difference I see between the two definitions in the first post is that, in the first, the pole is attached to the handles; in the second, the handles are attached to the pole. Attaching small parts (handles) to a large one (the pole) seems more natural to me. I don't think this has anything to do with AE/BE. (The use of "corn" to refer to all types of grain is BE, to be sure. Could that be what the dictionary compilers were referring to?)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I don't think this has anything to do with AE/BE.
    :thumbsup:
    (The use of "corn" to refer to all types of grain is BE, to be sure. Could that be what the dictionary compilers were referring to?)
    :thumbsup: but "cereals" would have served for both and been better. As far as I'm aware, oats and barley were both cut with scythes.
     
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