Author Topic: Strange Sentence pattern  (Read 8020 times)

pedestrian

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Strange Sentence pattern
« on: July 27, 2011, 12:20:01 AM »
Hi, Jose,

It is long time not in here. Learning language is really a distance progress.

Recently, I read a passage showing the following sentence:

"It is easy to kill a bird on the wing that flies straight, not so one that twists and turns."

"The gamester never plays the card the opponent expects, still less the one he wants.'

I don't understand the meaning and usage of the underlined part in the above sentence.

Could pls you help me ?

thanks
Pedestrian
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 03:40:32 PM by Joe Carillo »

Joe Carillo

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Re: Strange Sentence pattern
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2011, 10:37:07 AM »
The two sentences you presented are examples of the rhetorical device in English known as contrast and comparison, which emphasizes the difference or similarity between two or more things or ideas. As a rule, such contrast and comparison statements take the form of compound sentences that contrast or compare ideas in two coequal and coordinate clauses.

Let’s examine the first sentence:

“It is easy to kill a bird on the wing that flies straight, not so one that twists and turns.”

This sentence uses the contrastive phrase “not so”—a negation of the premise in the first clause—to emphasize the difference between the ideas in these two sentences: “It is easy to kill a bird on the wing that flies straight” (a positive statement) and “It is not easy to kill a bird that twists and turns” (a negative statement). The contrastive phrase “not so,” which has the same meaning as the conjunction “but not,” fuses the positive statement and the negative statement into a single compound sentence, with the repeated clause “it is easy to kill a bird” used only once for brevity. In other words, the contrastive phrase “not so” eliminates the need to repeat that clause for the idea in the second sentence, thus streamlining the combined sentence as well as making it more forceful and persuasive.

The word “one” that follows “not so” in that combined sentence is, of course, the indefinite pronoun that’s used to indicate a certain indefinitely indicated person or thing. Here, it’s being used instead of the noun “bird.” Of course, this replacement of a noun by a pronoun makes it possible to avoid the tedium of repeating the same word in the same sentence.

Now let’s examine the second sentence:

“The gamester never plays the card the opponent expects, still less the one he wants.”

This time we have a sentence that uses the comparative phrase “still less” to emphasize the even smaller likelihood of a second outcome happening compared to that of the first: “The gamester never plays the card the opponent wants” (the second sentence, which is a negative statement) and “The gamester never plays the card the opponent expects” (the first sentence, also a negative statement). The comparative phrase “still less” fuses the two negative statements into a single compound sentence that uses the clause “the gamester never plays the card” only once to make the point. Here, the comparative phrase “still less” eliminates the need to repeat that clause for the idea in the second sentence, thus streamlining the combined sentence as well as making it more forceful and persuasive.

As in the case of the first sentence, the word “one” that follows “still less” in that combined sentence is the indefinite pronoun for a certain indefinitely indicated person or thing. Here, “one” is being used instead of the noun “card” in the first clause.

The important thing to remember in comparison and contrast sentences is that they are meant to give readers or listeners a clear yardstick for appreciating similarities or differences between two things or ideas—the better to persuade them to accept the idea that the comparison or contrast is meant to support. In the case of the contrastive and comparative sentences we dissected here, they provide comparisons in the form of pairs of specific alternative outcomes.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 08:46:38 AM by Joe Carillo »

pedestrian

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Re: Strange Sentence pattern
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 12:47:19 AM »
hi, Jose,

thanks to open my eye.
According to your explaination, I make the following sentences. Could you give me comments?

1.0). It is easy to find a job that supports your life, not so one that give you quality of life.
1.1). It is easy to find a job supporting your life, not so one giving you quality of life.

2.0). It is easy to have friend who share happiness, not so one who are able to provide help in difficulty.
2.1). It is easy to have friend to share happiness, not so one to provide help in difficulty.

3.0). I can defeat a man who is skinny, not so one who fat.

Thanks


Joe Carillo

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Re: Strange Sentence pattern
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2011, 07:38:43 AM »
You’ve constructed your rhetorical sentences correctly using the contrastive phrase “not so one.” This drill of yours shows that you now understand clearly how this form of contrast and comparison works.

Let me just fine-tune the grammar of your sentences to make them perfect specimens for this rhetorical construction:

(1.0). It is easy to find a job that supports your life, not so one that gives you quality of life.
The pronoun “one” is singular so the verb should be in the singular form “gives” instead of the plural form “give.”

(1.1). It is easy to find a job that supports your life, not so one that gives you quality of life.
A peculiarity of English is that it sometimes doesn’t work properly when certain infinitive phrases like “to find a job” is followed or modified by a present-form participial phrase like “supporting your life.” This is why the present-form participial phrase has to be changed to the form “that + verb + direct object,” like “that supports your life.”

(2.0). It is easy to have a friend who shares your happiness, not so one who is able to provide help in difficulty.
The pronoun “one” is singular so the verb should be in the singular form “is” instead of the plural form “are.” Also, in the first clause, the noun “friend” has to be preceded by the article “a,” the verb should be in the singular form “shares” since the noun “friend” is singular, and the possessive adjective “your” before the noun “happiness” is needed to make the clause semantically perfect.

(2.1). It is easy to have a friend to share your happiness, not so one to provide help in difficulty.
Your sentence construction was almost perfect. To be so, it only needed the article “a” to precede the noun “friend” and the possessive adjective "your" to precede the noun "happiness."

(3.0). I can defeat a man who is skinny, not so one who is fat.
Your sentence construction was also almost perfect. It only needed the linking verb “is” to precede the adjective “fat” to be so.