to be empty of involuntary house guests

< Previous | Next >

NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
The expression "The baggy body appears to be empty of involuntary house guests" is confusing to me. It sounds as if "a baggy body should be full of involuntary house guests." What? What are you saying? It makes no sense.

What does " to be empty of involuntary house guests" mean?

**********************
Here's Noctiluca scintillans, a protist that takes photosynthetic hostages but also lights up when disturbed, giving it the nickname "sea sparkle". This individual is lazily waving a flagellum, whose usual function is to stuff food inside and sweep waste out. The baggy body appears to be empty of involuntary house guests.


Source: Scientific American
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This is the phrase that "involuntary house guests" refers to:

    a protist that takes photosynthetic hostages
    If the protist takes hostages, it may be somewhat surprising to find one that doesn't have any involuntary house guests in its body.

    After all, hostages would surely be involuntary house guests if they found themselves living in this protist. Right? At least they would if they had any awareness of where they were. Tiny photosynthetic hostages don't sound like particularly good candidates for intelligence or awareness, however. :D
     
    Last edited:

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    This is exactly the question! With a bunch of hostages inside its baggy body, the author should have written "The baggy body appears to be full of involuntary house guests. " It is mysterious that he used "empty" there.

    Thank you.:)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The image immediately below that text shows a Noctiluca scintillans with no "house guests" inside it.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top