would be better employed learning ...

polybolos

Senior Member
Japanese
I have a question about the following sentence.

Following is excerpt about a late British pianist.
''she rejected a more conventional Conservatoire education after the Royal Academy of Music had told her that a career as a pianist was a daunting prospect for a young girl who would be better employed learning how to cook a good roast.''

I'm bit confused with the grammar of the underlined phrase. Is something omitted between 'employed ' and 'learning' ?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    who would be better employed = who could better use her time

    a daunting prospect for a young girl who would be better employed learning how to cook a good roast.
    a daunting prospect for a young girl who could better use her time learning how to cook a good roast.


    I don't know the grammar behind it, but there is nothing missing in the original. I offer a paraphrase in case that helps your understanding of the construction.

    How would she be better employed? Learning how to cook a good roast.
    How could she better use her time? Learning how to cook a good roast.

    If that doesn't shed any light on the subject, I'm sure a grammarian with a flashlight will be along soon. :)
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hi, Copyright , thank you for responding.
    Your advise above is helpful, but if I can get tips by a grammarian , it's amazing to an English learner, like me. I wait for a moment, thanks.
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you for responding, Barque.
    You say nothing is omitted. But can I think in a way that 'while ' is omitted before learning ( i.g. ...girl who would be better employed while (she was ) learning how to ...)?
     
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    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I think you've got the idea but "while" would change the meaning slightly.

    The original means that learning how to cook a good roast (or learning domestic/household work) is what is advisable for her. Including "while" as you suggest would change the meaning to "She would be better off during the time that she's learning how to cook".
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Ok, thank you, Barque again. I rethink the sentence with advices of both you and copyright, thank you so much.
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Sorry, Barque (and Copyright). Can I ask two more questions concerning your comment?
    The original means that learning how to cook a good roast (or learning domestic/household work)
    Then, can I think in a way that the original means that , to her (or ladies at that time), learning how to cook is better (more advisable) than being pianist?

    "while" as you suggest would change the meaning
    How about 'in', namely , ' girl who would be better employed in learning how to ... ' ? If I complement in before ' learning', is the original meaning changed, too?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Then, can I think in a way that the original means that , to her (or ladies at that time), learning how to cook is better (more advisable) than being pianist?
    No, it means that, to the men at the Royal Academy of Music at the time the events occurred, a young woman should learn the skills needed to make a good wife, not become a professional pianist.

    What is the source of your quotation?

    How about 'in', namely , ' girl who would be better employed in learning how to ... ' ? If I complement in before ' learning', is the original meaning changed,
    No change; that has the same meaning.
     

    polybolos

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks to all.
    I notice the analogy between original sentence above and a sentence below.

    ''Five hours were employed in carrying out the experiment.'' (And according to my dictionary, sometimes in is omitted.)
    Maybe the sentence which I asked consists of the same grammatical logic. So now I maybe reach to full understanding, thank you all so much:thumbsup:
     
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