Melt X and Y together

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Neithera

New Member
Czech
Hello,
I am dealing with this troublesome sentence:

Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.

(1) Can you please tell me if "together" can be considered an obligatory adverbial in this sentence ("obligatory adverbial" here meaning "obligatory predication adjunct", i. e. something you cannot really omit without seriously affecting the verb's meaning, or even making it ungrammatical)?

I am 95% sure it is not, as "Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese ____ in the microwave for 1 minute..." seems not only grammatical to me, but also relatively alright as far as meaning is concerned, I do not think "together" is really strictly obligatory here. But yet I am unsure about that. What do you think?​

(2) Is it correct that from the viewpoint of sentence elements (rather than clause elements), the underlined part in italics starting with "stirring..." is a non-finite adverbial clause of circumstances, which relates to the imperative verb form "melt" (referring to the addressee of the recipe in 2nd person sg), but at the same time it internally implies rather coordination, although it is technically a subordinate clause?

In other words, it seems to me that this weird participle clause should originally imply "...and [you should] stir them every 20 seconds or until they are fully melted.", but it has been HEAVILY condensed due to the principles of language used in recipes.

How to even name this unusual construction properly? I do not see very often a condensed adverbial participle clause relating to 2nd person sg.​

Thank you so much for your answers!
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Wow. You’re making heavy weather of a really straightforward recipe instruction.

    Put both ingredients into the microwave and melt them together for 60 seconds, or longer if necessary, stirring the mixture every 20 seconds.
     

    Neithera

    New Member
    Czech
    Wow. You’re making heavy weather of a really straightforward recipe instruction.

    Put both ingredients into the microwave and melt them together for 60 seconds, or longer if necessary, stirring the mixture every 20 seconds.
    I know what it means, I understand the meaning, but I need to preserve the sentence exactly as it is for the needs of a syntactic analysis for my thesis. As my topic is verb complementation, I really need to understand this troublesome construction from the syntactic point of view—in the very form in which it is written... unfortunately. :/
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave. The “together” is in the wrong position. There is a possibility that this could mean “Melt ¾ cup (75 g) of mozzarella and ¾ cup (75 g) of cream cheese together (at the same time but separately) in the microwave. (The possibility is reduced (probably to sero) if the earlier part of the recipe has instructed that the mozzarella and cream cheese be already mixed - in this case, "together" is not absolutely required.

    Melt together ¾ cup (75 g) of [the] mozzarella and cream cheese mixture in the microwave. To “melt together” then expresses the idea combining through melting.

    I don't think that this is the same mandatory adverbial as in
    1. John danced.
    2. *John danced his wife.
    3. John danced his wife around the room.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello,
    I am dealing with this troublesome sentence:

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.

    (1) Can you please tell me if "together" can be considered an obligatory adverbial in this sentence ("obligatory adverbial" here meaning "obligatory predication adjunct", i. e. something you cannot really omit without seriously affecting the verb's meaning, or even making it ungrammatical)?

    I am 95% sure it is not, as "Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese ____ in the microwave for 1 minute..." seems not only grammatical to me, but also relatively alright as far as meaning is concerned, I do not think "together" is really strictly obligatory here. But yet I am unsure about that. What do you think?​

    (2) Is it correct that from the viewpoint of sentence elements (rather than clause elements), the underlined part in italics starting with "stirring..." is a non-finite adverbial clause of circumstances, which relates to the imperative verb form "melt" (referring to the addressee of the recipe in 2nd person sg), but at the same time it internally implies rather coordination, although it is technically a subordinate clause?

    In other words, it seems to me that this weird participle clause should originally imply "...and [you should] stir them every 20 seconds or until they are fully melted.", but it has been HEAVILY condensed due to the principles of language used in recipes.

    How to even name this unusual construction properly? I do not see very often a condensed adverbial participle clause relating to 2nd person sg.​

    Thank you so much for your answers!
    The problem here is that we don't know what theoretical model you are using for your syntactic analysis; don't assume that everyone uses/accepts the same terms.

    It seems that you are not following a particular model, and so, generally speaking, "together" in (1) functions as an adverb, and "stirring and "stirring every 20 seconds or until fully melted" in (2) functions an adverbial clause. Are the adverb and adverbial clause obligatory? Not from a syntactic point of view; you can drop them and still have a grammatical sentence. But they are necessary (or "obligatory," if you wish) from a pragmatic perspective. "Together" in (1) and "stirring every 20 seconds or until fully melted" in (2) provide essential information to get the desired result. For example, if you don't add "together" in (1), someone might melt the mozzarella and cream cheese separately, each for one minute, and that might affect/ruin the recipe.

    Stirring every 20 seconds or until fully melted is a reduced clause; its subject, as well as other words, has been omitted. This is not a problem because the subject of "stirring" is understood from context (it's the reader of the recipe). It's difficult to see with 100 percent certainty how this -ing clause looked before it was reduced, but we can guess: the unreduced version could be "while you are stirring every 20 seconds or until fully melted" or "and you should stir them every 20 seconds or until they are fully melted" (your version). The point is that the recipe doesn't require or need a full adverbial clause; a reduced clause does the job just fine.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.
    You are incorrectly linking the last eight words.

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.

    The instruction to stir could be relocated without affecting the meaning of the instructions:

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute or until fully melted, stirring every 20 seconds.

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, for 1 minute or until fully melted.
     

    Neithera

    New Member
    Czech
    You are incorrectly linking the last eight words.

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.

    The instruction to stir could be relocated without affecting the meaning of the instructions:

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute or until fully melted, stirring every 20 seconds.

    Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, for 1 minute or until fully melted.
    Indeed! I must have been blind that I did not notice this. Now the sentence gives much more sense. The comma somehow confused me, although it was used in an absolutely elementary way as a marker of an inserted clause. Thank you!
     
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