trace

cheshire

Senior Member
Japanese
Although no trace of the muscles remains in fossils, the attachment points can be seen on the bones.
Is this sentence valid? I think it might be a dilemma, because "the attachment points" can be a trace. Could it be that I'm taking the meaning of "trace" wrong?
 
  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I think the confusion might be that "no trace of X" means not even the tiniest remnant of X itself, not its tracks or signs indicating that X was once present.
    The sentence seems OK to me.
    :)
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks, nun, for your sisterly assistance!;)
    "no trace of X" means not even the tiniest remnant of X itself, not its tracks or signs indicating that X was once present.
    The bold part, isn't it exactly "the attachment points"?
    Footprints can be said of a trace of animals, right? Footprints are no part of animals. But they are a trace. The same can be true of the example sentence, no?
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    The attachment point is not muscle.
    The attachment point is the part of the bone that is pulled out of shape by the force of the muscle pulling on it.
    It is possible that you are being too pedantic in your interpretation of trace.
    The sentence makes clear that it is referring to physical properties not impressions made.

    .,,
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    As a footprint in the snow is not a trace of someone, it would appear that the attachment points are not traces of the muscle, but are evidence of it.
     

    equivoque

    Senior Member
    Australia - English
    I think the sentence is contradictory because a trace of something is evidence that something was there.

    A footprint is the perfect example of exactly what a "trace" describes.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    But the footprint in the snow is a trace of 'somebody', not a trace of the actual person. It only tells that some person passed that way, but not who passed that way.
    There is no trace of the individual muscle, but there is evidence that there was muscle.
     

    Not Logged In

    Banned
    England
    It would only be contradictory if the attachment points were made of muscle. If for example they are ligament, (or any other substance) then there is no trace of muscle. And no contradiction.
     

    Lee Sing

    Senior Member
    English from England
    But the footprint in the snow is a trace of 'somebody', not a trace of the actual person. It only tells that some person passed that way, but not who passed that way.
    There is no trace of the individual muscle, but there is evidence that there was muscle.

    Spot on.
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Isn't the debate in this thread between two different definitions of the word "trace"? Compare definitions 1 and 3 here. The content of the sentence seems to me to indicate the writer had definition 3 in mind. The fact that defintion 1 would make the sentence self-contradictory may be interesting, but to me, is just further evidence that such was not the author's intent. :)
     

    viera

    Senior Member
    English/French/Slovak
    I don't like the use of the word 'trace' here because of the ambiguity, the apparent contradiction.
    I would suggest:
    Although no actual muscle tissue remains in fossils...
    No remains of muscle tissue have been found in fossils...
     

    Not Logged In

    Banned
    England
    The content of the sentence seems to me to indicate the writer had definition 3 in mind. The fact that defintion 1 would make the sentence self-contradictory may be interesting, but to me, is just further evidence that such was not the author's intent. :)

    Obviously 3 and so as I said earlier there is no contradiction.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    Isn't the debate in this thread between two different definitions of the word "trace"? Compare definitions 1 and 3 here. The content of the sentence seems to me to indicate the writer had definition 3 in mind. The fact that defintion 1 would make the sentence self-contradictory may be interesting, but to me, is just further evidence that such was not the author's intent. :)
    I follow the same logic as you and come to the conclusion that ambiguity was the express intent of the original question posted.

    .,,
     

    konungursvia

    Banned
    Canada (English)
    When in doubt, turn to French (on words we got from them). In French "il ne reste aucune trace" is fine, and that's why I as a native English speaker have heard such a usage many times in our language.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I fully agree with konungusrvia. It's cystal clear. There is absolutely no physical evidence of the muscle remaining, although it is clear that at one time there had been muscle.
     
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