Are escape and defense nouns?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LQZ, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin
    Dear all,

    I ran into the above at another forum, the original threader and some forum goers have been hotly disscussing whether 'escape' and 'defense' are nouns. I also have the similar doubts that if they are nouns and how to deduce the word(s) after 'alternative to' is noun or verb. Could you clear up my doubt? Thanks in advance.


    LQZ
     
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    'Defence/defense' can only be a noun, so that pretty much forces 'escape' to be one too here. Without 'and defense', we get some interesting possibilities for 'alternative to escape':

    (1) the conditions under which it is an effective alternative to escape/flight/movement
    (2) the conditions under which it is an effective alternative to escape / to move somewhere else / to go away
    (3) the conditions under which it is an effective alternative to escape / for it to escape / that it should escape

    In the intended reading (1), 'escape' is a noun, 'to' is a preposition. There are alternatives to escape/flight/movement: there are things you can do instead.

    In (2) and (3) 'escape' is the verb and 'to' the subordinator. In (2) the infinitive clause is a displaced subject, pointing back to 'it', so it's equivalent to a non-displaced version with the clause as subject:

    (2') the conditions under which to escape / to move somewhere else / to go away is an effective alternative

    And in (3) the infinitive clause is a relative clause modifying 'alternative', which corresponds to the object of the clause: it should escape the alternative.
     
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Both are nouns in the sentence quoted. Escape can be a verb or a noun. Context will tell you which it is. Defense is a noun almost all the time; the exception is non-standard colloquial AE, in which sports reporters and coaches sometimes bend it, twist it, and otherwise contort it into a gangly intransitive verb.

    Random House Unabridged doesn't label it as sub-standard or jargon or slang, but you will not find it in formal writing.

     
  4. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin
    Thank you, now I've got it. :)
     

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