eat deer they taught him how to hunt

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little_rabbit123

Member
Chinese
Hi,


Do you think this sentence is well-written?

1. They were eating fish the (native) Indians had taught them how to net.
(From a printed text. But I seem to remeber having been warned not to write a sentence this way, where the object 'fish' is too far from 'net', separated by 'taught'. )

Based on it, I have created a similar one,

2. He was eating deer his uncles had taught him how to hunt.

Besides, I think removing the word 'how' in the above two sentences would make them more acceptable.

I don't know if you would agree?
 
  • bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi,


    Do you think this sentence is well-written?

    1. They were eating fish the (native) Indians had taught them how to net.
    (From a printed text. But I seem to remeber having been warned not to write a sentence this way, where the object 'fish' is too far from 'net', separated by 'taught'. ) Yes, this is well written. There is no problem writing a sentence this way and it sounds natural.

    Based on it, I have created a similar one,

    2. He was eating deer his uncles had taught him how to hunt.

    Besides, I think removing the word 'how' in the above two sentences would make them more acceptable. I'm wondering if you need a "the" before deer. I think you do need the "how". Without it, the sentence means that his uncles had taught him that he should hunt. With "how" it means that his uncles had taught him the method of hunting and shown him the way to do it.

    I don't know if you would agree?
     

    Bigote Blanco

    Senior Member
    Hi,


    Do you think this sentence is well-written?

    1. They were eating fish the (native) Indians had taught them how to net.

    2. He was eating deer his uncles had taught him how to hunt.

    I don't know if you would agree?
    This sounds a bit better to me.

    They were eating fish. The Indians had taught them how to net.
    He was eating deer meat/venison. His uncles had taught him how to hunt.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The problem with the sentence is not its structure, but the phrase "to eat deer". One does not usually think of "deer" as a food; it is common to have a different name for an animal and for the meat it produces. One would not speak of eating a "steer" or a "cow", for example; one would speak of eating "beef".

    One can use that structure, though, if one changes the words slightly. For example:

    He was eating soup that his mother had taught him how to make.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I see a great logical disconnect in your sentence.

    First of all, as GWB points out, we don't usually "eat deer.'' We eat venison

    Secondly, if you say "His uncles taught him how to hunt deer," i.e. "deer" in general, has nothing necessarily to do with the specific meat on his plate - particularly since one generally needs to kill an animal before consuming it.

    To be precise, although it takes a few more words, try "He was eating venison from the deer that he had killed as a result of his uncles teaching him how to hunt."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Sentence 1 is fine. The phenomenon is called long-distance dependency. An object can be pulled to the front from inside multiple clauses; this is perfectly normal in English, and an extremely interesting thing about grammar in general. Your sentence is perfectly clear, so there's no reason to shorten the distance. You can even make the distance longer, and it's still clear:

    They were eating fish their ancestors had told them the Indians had taught them how to net.

    In 2, the meaning is slightly different with and without 'how'. bluegiraffe has explained that clearly.
     

    Bigote Blanco

    Senior Member
    Sentence 1 is fine. The phenomenon is called long-distance dependency. An object can be pulled to the front from inside multiple clauses; this is perfectly normal in English, and an extremely interesting thing about grammar in general. Your sentence is perfectly clear, so there's no reason to shorten the distance. You can even make the distance longer, and it's still clear:

    They were eating fish their ancestors had told them the Indians had taught them how to net.

    In 2, the meaning is slightly different with and without 'how'. bluegiraffe has explained that clearly.
    If I've ever read a rambling sentence, this one fits the ticket. This is not "perfectly normal English". In my humble opinion, it's terrible.

    The original sentences were clear in their intent, but not well written. Fine small corrections were suggested.

    Please, let's help this Little Rabbit from China learn correct English, without confusing him/her any further.
     
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