three hours after eating the saturated fat meal

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  • Christine-Brinn

    Member
    British English - UK
    Umeboshi said:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/08/health/webmd/main1876936.shtml
    The researchers found that three hours after eating the saturated fat meal, the endothelium, or inner lining of blood vessels, in study participants showed reduced ability to expand and increase blood flow.

    I wonder if this sentence is grammatical.
    If it is grammatical, the endothelium ate the saturated fat meal, didn't it?
    Grammatically it does suggest that the endothelium ate the meal. However, most native English readers would know that was not what was meant, and a great many would probably not even notice. It is a common mistake made by children and many adults.

    I guess the main clause needs to be in the passive tense, or to state who ate the meal.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Christine-Brinn said:
    I guess the main clause needs to be in the passive tense, or to state who ate the meal.
    I like your answer-- vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them.

    You could stay out of the passive voice (not tense), though-- "After the participants had eaten the meal, researchers found than their membranes, dilations, yattayatta."

    No, not the researchers' membranes, the participants' membranes-- sometimes situational logic is clear when grammar, strictly speaking, is not.
    .
     

    Christine-Brinn

    Member
    British English - UK
    foxfirebrand said:
    I like your answer-- vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them.
    This is a whole debate, isn't it? Prescriptive versus descriptive grammar.

    Can any use of language really be a 'mistake' (as in 'incorrect') if it is clearly understood by the listener or reader?

    Of course, because people are judged by how they use language, it is important to know what is considered 'correct' use and be able to recognise and use it.

    :)
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    foxfirebrand said:
    I like your answer-- vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them.
    .
    This sentence just seems wrong to me.

    How about:

    Vagueness in antededents is a mistake, no matter that a growing percentage of the population doesn't notice it.
     

    Christine-Brinn

    Member
    British English - UK
    languageGuy said:
    This sentence just seems wrong to me.

    How about:

    Vagueness in antededents is a mistake, no matter that a growing percentage of the population doesn't notice it.
    Hi languageguy.

    He could also say " I like your answer because vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them."

    Or even: "I like your answer. Vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them."

    Or even: "I like your answer; vagueness in antecedents are mistakes, no matter that a growing percentage of the population don't notice them.

    The use of the dash is fine as foxfirebrand was mimicking the patterns of speech and it suggested the pause of a pull stop or semi-colon. That is the beauty and flexibility of English. I often use a dash either side of a clause when I am typing informally, whereas if I was writing formally, I would use commas or rephrase what i was saying. It is not wrong, just a different level of formality. I suspect if foxfire was quoting something for a piece of formal writing, I am sure she or he would not use the dash. :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Christine-Brinn said:
    Can any use of language really be a 'mistake' (as in 'incorrect') if it is clearly understood by the listener or reader?
    What listener or reader? People who pick up on distinctions and subtleties will always be in the minority-- I understand your espousal or relativism here, but "mistakes" that create vagueness don't often become standard usage. The test of time is a factor too.

    One example of people who pick up on mistakes is LanguageGuy, who spotted a very obvious one in my statement-- and it involved an antecedent!
    .
     
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