Are these English sentence patterns obsolete?

ntmaster

Member
Taiwan, Mandarin
Hi,

I found these English sentences in one of my English grammar books. I seldom see these kinds of English and wonder if these ways of writing English are obsolete. Could anybody help me to verify them? Thanks.

1. To hear him speak English, one would take him for a foreigner.

2. To have studied harder, you would have passed the examination.

3. Born in better times, he would have been a scholar.

4. Failing this, what would you do?




 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. 3. and 4. seem to me perfectly normal standard English.

    2. is strange: can it mean? - Had you studied harder you would have passed the exam.

    I can't easily think of another meaning. I can't see the logic behind its possible suggestion that you would have to pass the exam in order to be able to study harder.
     

    ntmaster

    Member
    Taiwan, Mandarin
    1. 3. and 4. seem to me perfectly normal standard English.

    2. is strange: can it mean? - Had you studied harder you would have passed the exam.

    I can't easily think of another meaning. I can't see the logic behind its possible suggestion that you would have to pass the exam in order to be able to study harder.
    According to the grammer book, (2) means: If you had studided harder, you would have passed the examination. To me it's logical, because that person did not study harder, so he failed the exam.

    Can I make a conclusion that the grammer book is wrong about sentence (2)?
     

    Pet Korun

    Member
    English - Ireland
    1. sounds very Irish to me - Except for it would be:

    "To hear him speak English you'd think he was a foreigner!"

    I don't think it'd be used anywhere else, anyone disagree?

     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    According to the grammer book, (2) means: If you had studided harder, you would have passed the examination. To me it's logical, because that person did not study harder, so he failed the exam.

    Can I draw the make a conclusion that the grammer book is wrong about sentence (2)?
    But as an elementary point of logic you can't have studied harder than you studied.

    The grammar book's got it the wrong way round; the sentence should be: To pass the exam you should have studied harder.

    I've corrected your question at the end, Ntmaster, forgive me. The answer I would give to it is yes.
     

    Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I thought you meant it was something normal in Ireland and not elsewhere.

    Maybe the fact that the sentence is not very normal for me made me understand that. :)



    Are Hiberno-English and British English synonyms for you, Pet?

    Or is maybe the word "standard" what we are analysing differently? I think "standard" is meant here as general.
     
    Last edited:

    Pet Korun

    Member
    English - Ireland
    I thought you meant it was something normal in Ireland and not elsewhere.

    Maybe the fact that the sentence is not very normal for me made me understand that. :)



    Are Hiberno-English and British English synonyms for you, Pet?
    No Hiberno is from the Latin "Hibernia" meaning "Ireland" and means from Ireland. British means from Brittan.

    Hiberno-English includes many sentence structures grammar differences and even some words that come directly from Irish (Gaeilge - the old Celtic language of Ireland), as well as the way the language has obviously evolved differently from how it evolved in Britain.

    Ireland is not in Britain; if that was the question.



    In Ireland it is definitely not standard usage!
    I do agree that the sentence is not exactly as it would appear normally and it would not be used often; mostly because of the word "one" in place of "you". "The queen's English" is, in my opinion, obsolete.
     

    Ynez

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I know Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland, but I am afraid the conversation was too confusing for me :D :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top