Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China.

Vanloon

Senior Member
Hindi
686: Umbrellas Up - This American Life

Ira Glass
Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China. A week later, 2 million people came out.

Q: I think that is a part of participial construction. But for me, it doesn't look like a perfect sentence or some phrase was omitted. I think the original sentence is...

Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, they(Hong Kong people) want to make their own laws, separate from China.

Am I right? Thanks in advance!
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Perhaps it was meant to be punctuated like this:

    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China, a week later, 2 million people came out.


    The syntax is a bit inelegant but it makes more sense. The subject of the whole thing is the 2 million people.
     

    Vanloon

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Perhaps it was meant to be punctuated like this:

    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China, a week later, 2 million people came out.

    The syntax is a bit inelegant but it makes more sense. The subject of the whole thing is the 2 million people.
    Oh, That is very clear for me. Thanks a lot. And...I have another question which nobody want to answer it. Could you tell me the answer of my question? I hope I'm not bothering you.
    Thanks anyway.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    This is written at the top of the page:

    Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard. If you are able, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.
     

    Vanloon

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    This is written at the top of the page:

    Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard. If you are able, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.
    Thanks a lot. Of course, I've read that part, but because of my English skill, I want to make sure. Thanks a lot. Tunaafi! :)
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    When reading transcripts of natural speech you should expect a fair bit of nonstandard punctuation and usage. I see you've posted a number of questions about this text and it makes sense now that it's a transcript.
     

    nam5

    New Member
    English
    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China, a week later, 2 million people came out.
    In the sentence above, I don't know where the subject of the verb "seperate" is. I think the sentence is grammatically incorrect. May anyone help me explain that . Many thanks.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    'Separate' is a adjective, here, applying to Hong Kong.

    Wanting Hong Kong to stay [[like it is with its own laws,]] separate from China, [[a week later,]] 2 million people came out.

    Compare: Wanting my dog to stay (like he is now) warm , I kept him indoors during the storm.
     
    Last edited:

    nam5

    New Member
    English
    "seperate" should be written "seperation". Is it grammatically right? Because "Seperation from China" is a noun phrase used in apposition to "its own laws".
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Note the spelling: separate and separation.

    "Separate" can be a verb ("I tried to separate the two people fighting each other") or as an adjective ("We had separate rooms").

    "Separation" is a noun eg "The separation of oil and water is quite easy."

    Some people want Hong Kong to be separate from China."

    The Beijing government has not agreed to the separation of HK and mainland China.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, in other words, wanting it to be separate from China.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China, a week later, 2 million people came out.
    In the sentence above, I don't know where the subject of the verb "seperate" is. I think the sentence is grammatically incorrect.
    You are correct. This isn't a sentence. It is at least 2 sentences. There is no subject for "wanting". Who is wanting? And "A week later" starts a new sentence. A week later than what?

    Even if it is spoken, this must be the continuation of some previous comments.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think it's an awkward, grammatical sentence when rendered as by kentix in post #2.

    OP#: Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China, a week later, 2 million people came out.
    --------------------------


    It is not more mysterious than my mundane example: Wanting my dog to stay (like he is now) warm , I kept him indoors during the storm.

    The subject of 'wanting' (so to say)* is "I" . In OP#, it's "people'.
    =========

    *a participial phrase doesn't have a proper, explicit 'subject' in the way a sentence/clause does;

    as in "Wanting to be on time, I left for work early. The main actual subject (actor) is "I" ; main verb, 'left'. We can say the 'subject', so to say, of 'wanting' (in its phrase) is also I.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Let's read the sentence, along with the sentence before it:

    But 1 million walk on the street with the same demand, with the same wish of having Hong Kong to remain its current state.

    Wanting Hong Kong to stay like it is with its own laws, separate from China. A week later, 2 million people came out.
    Now it makes sense. "Wanting Hong Kong to..." was a continuation of the previous sentence by the other speaker. In fact the "wanting" phrase is simply a re-wording of the "same wish of" phrase. This kind of re-wording ("echoing") is common in English.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Let's read the sentence, along with the sentence before it:

    But 1 million walk on the street with the same demand, with the same wish of having Hong Kong to remain its current state.



    Now it makes sense. "Wanting Hong Kong to..." was a continuation of the previous sentence by the other speaker. In fact the "wanting" phrase is simply a re-wording of the "same wish of" phrase. This kind of re-wording ("echoing") is common in English.
    Excellent explanation. I accept this reconstruction, attaching the "wanting" phrase to the preceding sentence. The subject of 'wanting' is 'million'.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    Let's read the sentence, along with the sentence before it:

    But 1 million walk on the street with the same demand, with the same wish of having Hong Kong to remain its current state.

    Now it makes sense. "Wanting Hong Kong to..." was a continuation of the previous sentence by the other speaker. In fact the "wanting" phrase is simply a re-wording of the "same wish of" phrase. This kind of re-wording ("echoing") is common in English.
    :thumbsup:

    A fine example of the need for context, in this case the preceding sentence.
     
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