Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2003 10:03 pm
This sentence:

The middle one of the three windows was half way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.

The subject of the participle "sitting" and "taking" is not Utterson, while the writer actually meant "Dr Jekyll sitting ... and taking ...". So the participles here are misrelated?

Thanks.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jul, 2003 11:38 pm
Hi Oristar,

The mistake in this sentence is called a dangling participle.

First, half way is one word. A minor point, but I can't help myself.

You could fix this sentence in several ways.

The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien (delete comma) like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.

Or

The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, was Utterson, who then saw Dr Jekyll.

Or

... Utterson, while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, saw Dr Jekyll.


I'm not crazy about the second way, but it's not wrong. I'm inclined to think the first way is simplest and best.

I hope this helps. Smile
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 05:11 am
And i am inclined to enjoy good writing, even if Stevenson dangled a participle, to the frustration of those with a literarily anal attitude.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 05:22 am
Setanta, I like good writing too. Didn't know who wrote the above sentence. Just answered an honest question with an honest answer.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 05:41 am
I know, Boss, i wasn't trying to bust you for it--Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 06:57 am
Hi Setanta, I knew it was about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I just didn't know whether it was taken from the book directly or not. No harm; no foul.

Oristar, As long as we're on the subject, I'm wondering why you're looking for grammatical mistakes in a classic book. Does this have something to do with a class you're taking?
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 07:02 am
Set, I think you meant ..."lierarily anal rectitude." OkokI'mgoing.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 09:57 am
heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee . . .
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oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 10:19 am
Hi Roberta,

I could not get you exactly, so I have to analyze your rewritings carefully. Excuse me for doing so.

Yes, I found the term "dangling participle" has properly depicted the mistake, thanks. But using the other term "mis-related participle" to indicate such a mistake is invented by Mr.Echersley who, if I guessed correctly, was an English professor in Britain.

Now let's come to the point.

(1) The first rewriting:
The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.

I think you have rewritten the present participle clauses as a time-type enlargement; and this enlargement is modifying the subject Utterson. Am I on the right track?

(2) The second rewriting:
The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, was Utterson, who then saw Dr Jekyll.
For convenience, let's leave out the second present participle clause "taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner", thus the sentence becomes:

...and sitting close beside it, was Utterson, who then saw Dr Jekyll.

The subject is "and sitting close beside it", the predicate is "was Utterson", while "who then saw Dr Jekyll" is the enlargment of "Utterson", am I on the right track?

Now leave out the enlargement, the sentence means:

Utterson was sitting close beside it.
Am I on the right track?

(3) The third writing:

... Utterson, while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, saw Dr Jekyll.

Apparently, the middle part -- "while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner" is the time-type enlargement of the subject "Utterson". Am I on the right track?

I am sorry I was so wordy, Roberta! Embarrassed
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oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 10:42 am
Roberta wrote:

Oristar, As long as we're on the subject, I'm wondering why you're looking for grammatical mistakes in a classic book. Does this have something to do with a class you're taking?


Roberta,

I am now learning the work Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, not looking for grammatical mistakes in it. A little bit of defect cannot obscure the virtues of a classic work, after all.
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 01:51 pm
I'm confused. My mental picture of the first (original) sentence was of Utterson walking into a room and seeing Dr. Jekyll sitting beside the middle window...

I'm ascribing the mien and the disconsolateness to Jekyll, right?
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 03:30 pm
Wy, you're right. You're confused. Smile
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 06:10 pm
Oristar, Let's get down to basics. If you strip away the extraneous words, what you have left is "While Utterson was sitting by the window thinking about stuff, he saw Jekyll." All the other words describe how he was feeling while he was sitting by the window.

(1) The first rewriting:
The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.

I think you have rewritten the present participle clauses as a time-type enlargement; and this enlargement is modifying the subject Utterson. Am I on the right track?

I'm a bit confused by what you're saying. The meat of the sentence--the subject and predicate--is "Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll." This is the main clause. All the stuff that precedes it is a subordinate clause and only serves to modify what happened regarding Utterson seeing Dr. Jekyll.


(2) The second rewriting:
The middle one of the three windows was halfway open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, was Utterson, who then saw Dr Jekyll.
For convenience, let's leave out the second present participle clause "taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner", thus the sentence becomes:

...and sitting close beside it, was Utterson, who then saw Dr Jekyll.

The subject is "and sitting close beside it", the predicate is "was Utterson", while "who then saw Dr Jekyll" is the enlargment of "Utterson", am I on the right track?

No, the subject is still Utterson. The predicate has changed. Was sitting is the predicate. I've changed the structure of the sentence. Not a good thing. Shame on me.

(3) The third writing:

... Utterson, while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner, saw Dr Jekyll.

Apparently, the middle part -- "while sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien like some disconsolate prisoner" is the time-type enlargement of the subject "Utterson". Am I on the right track?

Yes. Here the subject and predicate are separated by a long description in the form of subordinate clauses. But this change, I think, crystallizes the subject and verb in a way that the others didn't.

I am sorry I was so wordy, Roberta.

Oristar, please don't apologize. I greatly admire your determination and your willingness to learn and understand. Use as many words as you need to say what you want to say.
0 Replies
 
Wy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 11:04 pm
From The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson:
Quote:
It chanced on Sunday, when Mr. Utterson was on his usual walk with Mr. Enfield, that their way lay once again through the by-street; and that when they came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it.
"Well," said Enfield, "that story's at an end at least. We shall never see more of Mr. Hyde."
"I hope not," said Utterson. "Did I ever tell you that I once saw him, and shared your feeling of repulsion?"
"It was impossible to do the one without the other," returned Enfield. "And by the way, what an ass you must have thought me, not to know that this was a back way to Dr. Jekyll's! It was partly your own fault that I found it out, even when I did."
"So you found it out, did you?" said Utterson. "But if that be so, we may step into the court and take a look at the windows. To tell you the truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the presence of a friend might do him good."
The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight, although the sky, high up overhead, was still bright with sunset. The middle one of the three windows was half-way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll. "What! Jekyll!" he cried. "I trust you are better."
"I am very low, Utterson," replied the doctor drearily, "very low. It will not last long, thank God."
"You stay too much indoors," said the lawyer. "You should be out, whipping up the circulation like Mr. Enfield and me. (This is my cousin--Mr. Enfield--Dr. Jekyll.) Come now; get your hat and take a quick turn with us."


There's the context; it's Utterson outside looking up at Dr. Jekyll in the middle window of his room. And it was Jekyll who was sad and disconsolate. Yes, I went and read the story to find this.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 11:34 pm
Roberta wrote:


I think you have rewritten the present participle clauses as a time-type enlargement; and this enlargement is modifying the subject Utterson. Am I on the right track?

I'm a bit confused by what you're saying. The meat of the sentence--the subject and predicate--is "Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll." This is the main clause. All the stuff that precedes it is a subordinate clause and only serves to modify what happened regarding Utterson seeing Dr. Jekyll.


I suppose the phrase "a time-type enlargement" made you confused.

I remember Mr. Eckersley had ever introduced a sentence like this:

He worked like a madman in the garden on Saturday.

(I described the following with my own words, if there is some grammatical or rhetorical mistake in the words, that is mine, not Mr. Eckersley's.)

Eckersley said -- "He worked" is the main clause, the others are the enlargments. And the type of each enlargement is different:
like a madman -- manner-type enlargement
in the garden -- place-type enlargement
on Saturday -- time-type enlargement

(Note: The term "enlargement" is exactly Eckersley's)

What I said above is clear?

PS. I know you always want to make your writing best,so you picked on the sentence "sitting was Utterson".
Of course your manner is perfect. But for me, as a learner,
I think the sentence is acceptable. I just want to know a bit -- why "Utterson was sitting" could be reversed as "sitting was Utterson". Would you like to introduce a little bit about this? Thanks.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2003 11:58 pm
Wy, Thanks for the context!!! Holy moley. The dangers of dangling participles--complete misinterpretation.

Oristar, The information from Wy has changed everything. I'm going to have to rethink and revise all the information I gave you. I'm so sorry. I'll be back.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 02:52 am
Roberta wrote:
Wy, Thanks for the context!!! Holy moley. The dangers of dangling participles--complete misinterpretation.

Oristar, The information from Wy has changed everything. I'm going to have to rethink and revise all the information I gave you. I'm so sorry. I'll be back.



Roberta, Please don't apologize. Personally, I think that is neither your fault nor Stevenson's. The one thing I want to mention in here, it's that your analysis on the dangling participles is similar to Prof. Eckersley's, so you are not alone. I tell you the truth, honestly, that your analysis was so excellent that has helped me a lot -- because I am a learner, who needs to learn how to analyze the writings, regardless of whether or not the master-pieces sometime break the usual rule of speaking (I need to know the usual rule first at all, and then I should learn of some writing skills of anti-conventionality, right?).

PS. Regarding anti-conventionality, just like this example ( "who is sitting there?"), needs enough context to determine it. Right?


Here is another version of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson:


Quote:
It chanced on Sunday, when Mr Utterson was on his usual walk with Mr Enfield, that their way lay once again through the by street; and that when they came in front of the door, both stopped to gaze on it.

`Well,' said Enfield, `that story's at an end, at least. We shall never see more of Mr Hyde.'

`I hope not,' said Utterson. `Did I ever tell you that I once saw him, and shared your feeling of repulsion?'

`It was impossible to do the one without the other,' returned Enfield. `And, by the way, what an ass you must have thought me, not to know that this was a back way to Dr Jekyll's! It was partly your own fault that I found it out, even when I did.'

`So you found it out, did you?' said Utterson. `But if that be so, we may step into the court and take a look at the windows. To tell you the truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the presence of a friend might do him good.'

The court was very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight, although the sky, high up overhead, was still bright with sunset. The middle one of the three windows was half way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr Jekyll.

`What! Jekyll!' he cried. `I trust you are better.'

`I am very low, Utterson,' replied the doctor drearily; `very low. It will not last long, thank God.'

`You stay too much indoors,' said the lawyer. `You should be out, whipping up the circulation like Mr Enfield and me. (This is my cousin - Mr Enfield - Dr Jekyll.) Come, now; get your hat and take a quick turn with us.'

`You are very good,' sighed the other. `I should like to very much; but no, no, no, it is quite impossible; I dare not. But indeed, Utterson, I am very glad to see you; this is really a great pleasure. I would ask you and Mr Enfield up, but the place is really not fit.'
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2003 04:28 am
Oristar, You are absolutely right. Without a context, all kinds of things can be misinterpreted. The dangling participle isn't the only culprit in this case. Rather than my going through the whole thing again, I'm wondering whether you can change the sentence to read more clearly--with the correct person sitting by the window.

Also, what you say about need to know the basics before you can go beyond them--break the rules, as you said. This reminds of Picasso, who had mastered the skill of representational painting before he broke all the rules and became a cubist.

Oristar. I can't tell you how glad I am that you think I am helping you. Although there are lots of interesting things going on in this forum, I wanted to be content specialist in English because I hoped that I would be able to help people.
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