Bush has bombed Iraq, but is a good president.

Status
Not open for further replies.

wholegrain

Senior Member
French
I have been wondering if sentences with a word that possesses two different meanings are possible like:

Bush has bombed Iraq, but is a good president.

The scepter ordered them to kill, and is shining in its majesty.

Tide is wonderful, but when it is red it kills.

Red water can kill; however, it is full of living things.

Dark night is a stalker, but can be full of romance.
 
Last edited:
  • Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Well, Wholegrain, these sentences are all OK, but not great.

    But what is the problem? Or more specifically: which word in each sentence seems to you to have two meanings?
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I don't see how a sceptre (note spelling) can give orders unless it's some kind of magical sceptre which has intelligence and a voice. Or perhaps you meant "spectre" (US "specter"), that would make more sense. Apart from that the sentences are fine.
     

    wholegrain

    Senior Member
    French
    Bush
    scepter
    Tide
    Red water
    Dark night

    btw, in the third to the last sentence, there is no article, are they still correct?
     
    Last edited:

    mirx

    Banned
    Español
    Well, Wholegrain, these sentences are all OK, but not great.

    But what is the problem? Or more specifically: which word in each sentence seems to you to have two meanings?
    I think he means it as "one same thing can have opposite qualities", the red tide being lethal yet also full of leaving things.

    So yes, it is possible, and I suppose those sentences are also correct in French. However you (wholegrain)need another pronoun in some of them.

    Bush bombed..., but HE is a good...
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I would say either "a tide is a wonderful thing" or "tides are wonderful, but when they are red they kill".
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I think he means it as "one same thing can have opposite qualities", the red tide being lethal yet also full of leaving things.

    So yes, it is possible, and I suppose those sentences are also correct in French. However you (wholegrain)need another pronoun in some of them.

    Bush bombed..., but HE is a good...
    I disagree, I don't think the pronoun is necessary here, it's clear that Bush is being referred to.
     

    mirx

    Banned
    Español
    I disagree, I don't think the pronoun is necessary here, it's clear that Bush is being referred to.
    Well for me they are definitely two different clauses, and eventhough it is understood that he means Bush, "...but is a good president" makes me wonder who is a good president.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I was using a metonymy...
    Do you mean that you wanted to say "sceptre" (as opposed to "scepter" or "spectre") and you want to use it in the literal sense of a ceremonial staff and at the same time in some sense of it being representative of the King?

    Firstly, it's not idiomatic to refer to the King as a sceptre.
    Secondly, no, you can't use the same word to represent two different definitions in a sentence in this way.
     

    Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Bush I've heard of President Bush, but what is the other meaning intended here?
    scepter See the post about the magical sceptre. If Scepter is a person, then the sentence is not good.
    Tide Unless you're referring to washing powder, both clauses refer to seawater. I see no second meaning.
    Red water Same again.
    Dark night And again (unless Dark Night is a person, then it's like sentzence #2)

    btw, in the third to the last sentence, there are no article, is it still correct? There is no problem here
    I would be inclined to leave out the comma between the two halves of each sentence. "Bill is very tall but has short legs" is a good sentence. If we're talking about two different "Bills," then the sentence doesn't work, simply because the dichotomy is not clear.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Well for me they are definitely two different clauses, and eventhough it is understood that he means Bush, "...but is a good president" makes me wonder who is a good president.
    You would only need to include another noun or pronoun if you were referring to someone else other than Bush. The lack of such makes it implicit that we are still talking about Bush.
     

    wholegrain

    Senior Member
    French
    I meant the US army and then the president.
    I meant tide as plain tide and then an illness.
    I meant red water as sharks and then just plain seawater.
    I meant dark night as stalkers during the night and then plain night.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I meant the US army and then the president. I see no way in which Bush can mean US army
    I meant tide as plain tide and then an illness.
    I don't know of any illness called Tide
    I meant red water as sharks and then just plain seawater.
    I don't understand this
    I meant dark night as stalkers during the night and then plain night.
    This doesn't make much sense to me either
     

    Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    I meant the US army and then the president.
    I meant tide as plain tide and then an illness.
    I meant red water as sharks and then just plain seawater.
    I meant dark night as stalkers during the night and then plain night.
    I would say that none of these meanings is evident in your sentences. So the answer to your question must be NO! You can't create sentences like this and expect anyone to see two separate subjects.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    It's clearer what you are trying to do with this sentence but it's simply not correct to do this in English. I'm sure there's a word for it but I don't remember what it is.
     

    Monkey F B I

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The White House is competent, and is a beautiful landmark.

    What about this one??
    You really can't say something like that. The conjunction "and", when used with a comma, implies that the two clauses are related. The two clauses you presented are not at all related.

    Furthermore, the White House is not competent. You may think the people are, but the building certainly isn't.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    You either using metonymy or a metonym. You can't be using a metonymy.

    I think it may be possible to refer to the US administration as "The White House" but it's not possible to refer to it as a building at the same time.
     

    Monkey F B I

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    First of all, it'd be "using metonymy", not "using a metonymy"

    Secondly, I'd still strongly advise saying that. You can say the White House supports something, but it's dangerous territory to say the White House is competent. People will understand you if you use the former, but not so much with the latter.

    Thirdly, the conjunction you used still doesn't work.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's clearer what you are trying to do with this sentence but it's simply not correct to do this in English. I'm sure there's a word for it but I don't remember what it is.
    It's syllepsis:)

    It's perfectly correct in English - if you're looking for comic effect.

    Some examples here
     

    Wobby

    Senior Member
    English [England]
    I assumed that "red tide" referred to toxic algal blooms:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_tide
    As such, the two sentences about red tide and red water make perfect sense but no second meaning would occur to me.

    I've never heard of any illness with the same name.
    Perhaps this red tide is what wholegrain meant, in that from the description, it sounds potentially deadly to marine life - the only problem I see with it is that you wouldn't get it unless you were a marine biologist or had specialist knowledge. :)

    Regarding 'red water', the two ideas that would occur to me would be piranha/shark infested waters straight after a kill (i.e. the blood in the water turns it red) - either that, or it refers to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_water_(waste), but I wouldn't have thought of this one - and the Red Sea, which is rich in life (this being the other red water being referred to).
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi wholegrain

    If you want to use syllepsis, that's fine.

    But you need to be clear why you're doing it. (Usually, the intention is comical.)

    And you need to make sure your readers understand what you're doing.

    I'm afraid your sentences fail on both counts: I'm sorry:(
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I said I was using a metonymy!

    Saying

    The White house is competent

    is certainly correct.
    Yes, but you are trying to use a metonym in one half of the sentence and have the same noun used in its literal sense in the other half:

    The White House is competent (metonym), and is a beautiful landmark (literal.)


    I can think of no example where this works.


    As for syllepsis, I think it usually relies on the verb, not the noun, such as:

    Bush bombed Iraq and his English finals. ;)
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This thread is a jumble of topics, ideas, suggestions and corrections.

    While each one of these might merit a thread of its own, as bouillabaisse it is not at all appetising.

    If someone can discern a single topic from this, please feel free to propose to any EO moderator the process by which it may be transformed.

    Meanwhile, I have closed it as it clearly has little or nothing to do with the thread title.
     
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    < Previous | Next >
    Top