• National Geographic

    From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to All on Thursday, May 02, 2019 11:40:08
    Hi, ALL!

    I am reading now a glittering, reputable National Geographic
    magazine ("100 greatest mysteries revealed"), and in the article
    about King Arthur I read:

    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    Historical opinion is now split. Some scholars think
    that the lack of contemporary accounts of Arthur mean
    he is a later invention.
    ----- The end of the citation -----

    1. What about the absence of article before "Historical opinion"?
    2. why do they write "mean" instead of "means"?

    IMHO the lack of ... means...

    Bye, ALL!
    Alexander Koryagin

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://fidonews.mine.nu - Lake Ylo - Finland (2:221/6.0)
  • From Paul Quinn@3:640/1384.125 to Alexander Koryagin on Thursday, May 02, 2019 19:23:53
    Hi! Alexander,

    On 05/02/2019 06:40 PM, you wrote to All:

    Historical opinion is now split. Some scholars think
    that the lack of contemporary accounts of Arthur mean
    he is a later invention.

    1. What about the absence of article before "Historical opinion"?

    There are many opinions. I have mine. Do you have one?

    2. why do they write "mean" instead of "means"?

    IMHO the lack of ... means...

    It simply implies 'it suggests', i.e. "...of Arthur suggest he is a later...".
    Even 'implies' could have been substituted for 'means'.

    An aside comment...

    I will leave you with this teaser video on EwwTuub... The Sword Excalibur - The
    Truth Behind [National Geographic on Nov 17, 2011]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAqb8XHGezI

    I have seen another full-length video many years ago showing the entire process, which formed my opinion on the probable basis (and time in history) for the Arthurian tale. In those times, the making of swords was wizard's work. 8-)

    There is an English phrase you may or may not have stumbled across: Great Minds
    Think Alike (sometimes abbreviated to GMTA). I was recently doing some haphazard research on Arthur and Excalibur. GMTA, Alexander.

    Cheers,
    Paul.

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  • From Mike Powell@1:2320/105 to ALEXANDER KORYAGIN on Thursday, May 02, 2019 19:26:00
    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    Historical opinion is now split. Some scholars think
    that the lack of contemporary accounts of Arthur mean
    he is a later invention.
    ----- The end of the citation -----
    1. What about the absence of article before "Historical opinion"?
    2. why do they write "mean" instead of "means"?

    Not sure on #1. However, #2 I believe is because "mean" is the plural
    form, in this case "lack of accounts mean." Accounts is plural, so mean is also plural. If the sentence said "lack of a contemporary account," the
    writer would have used "means" instead as account is singular.

    At least that is how I was taught it. :)

    Mike

    ---
    SLMR 2.1a Veni, Vidi, Visa. (I came, I saw, I charged it.)
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  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Mike Powell on Friday, May 03, 2019 11:54:44
    Hi, Mike Powell!
    I read your message from 03.05.2019 02:26

    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    Historical opinion is now split. Some scholars think that the lack
    of contemporary accounts of Arthur mean he is a later invention.
    ----- The end of the citation -----
    1. What about the absence of article before "Historical opinion"?
    2. why do they write "mean" instead of "means"?

    Not sure on #1. However, #2 I believe is because "mean" is the
    plural form, in this case "lack of accounts mean." Accounts is
    plural, so mean is also plural. If the sentence said "lack of a contemporary account," the writer would have used "means" instead
    as account is singular.

    At least that is how I was taught it.

    In Longman dictionary I found out "lack" can be used in both forms.

    [The lack of oxygen at this height saps power.]
    "saps" is related to "lack" and oxygen doesn't make "lack" uncountable.

    or an uncountable form:

    [Their apparent lack of progress mean they are not doing their job properly.]

    Bye, Mike!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2019

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://fidonews.mine.nu - Lake Ylo - Finland (2:221/6.0)
  • From Paul Quinn@3:640/1384 to Alexander Koryagin on Friday, May 03, 2019 20:48:15
    Hi! Alexander,

    On 03 May 19 11:54, you wrote to Mike Powell:

    [The lack of oxygen at this height saps power.]
    "saps" is related to "lack" and oxygen doesn't make "lack"
    uncountable.

    IMHO: saps is related to power. Power is the thing being sapped by a lack of oxygen.

    or an uncountable form:

    [Their apparent lack of progress mean they are not doing their job properly.]

    IMHO: this is unnatural to a native speaker. (I don't know where Mike got his rule from, although it may be correct for 99.99% of cases in his locale.) The passage should read: "...lack of progress means they are not...". It could be countable, in either the case of there being many (persons) involved, or in the
    singular case of one person, when speaking of 'their'. English can be annoyingly imprecise at times. 8-)

    Cheers,
    Paul.

    ... finer temptress, Through the ages she's heading west,
    --- GoldED+/LNX 1.1.5-b20130515
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  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Paul Quinn on Friday, May 03, 2019 21:39:42
    Hi, Paul Quinn!
    I read your message from 03.05.2019 13:48

    [The lack of oxygen at this height saps power.] "saps" is related
    to "lack" and oxygen doesn't make "lack" uncountable.

    IMHO: saps is related to power. Power is the thing being sapped by
    a lack of oxygen.

    But "lack" is the subject, and "saps" is the predicate to "lack"

    or an uncountable form:

    [Their apparent lack of progress mean they are not doing their job
    properly.]

    IMHO: this is unnatural to a native speaker.

    Yes, you are right it was my fault. That example from the dictionary was in the
    form of a question (Does their apparent lack of progress mean...) and I remade
    it wrongly.

    So, "Their apparent lack of progress MEANS they are not doing their job properly." -- here we have "lack" uncountable.

    [a lack of food]
    here we use "lack" as singular noun.

    (I don't know where
    Mike got his rule from, although it may be correct for 99.99% of
    cases in his locale.) The passage should read: "... lack of
    progress means they are not...".

    If we apply Mike's rule we'll see that "progress" is an uncountable noun, as should be "lack", and, therefore, it should be "lack of progress MEAN they are not..." So the rule is not working.

    It could be countable, in either
    the case of there being many (persons) involved, or in the singular
    case of one person, when speaking of 'their'. English can be
    annoyingly imprecise at times.


    Bye, Paul!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2019

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://fidonews.mine.nu - Lake Ylo - Finland (2:221/6.0)
  • From Paul Quinn@3:640/1384 to Alexander Koryagin on Saturday, May 04, 2019 08:53:15
    Hi! Alexander,

    On 03 May 19 21:39, you wrote to me:

    But "lack" is the subject, and "saps" is the predicate to "lack"

    I am out of my depth here.[gulp] I withdraw.

    So, "Their apparent lack of progress MEANS they are not doing their
    job properly." -- here we have "lack" uncountable.

    Yes. (I'll play a visual pun at this point and transverse an 's'...) They're a _slack_ mob for not working hard enough.[weak grin]

    [a lack of food]
    here we use "lack" as singular noun.

    Okay. What fun. :)

    Cheers,
    Paul.

    ... What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
    --- GoldED+/LNX 1.1.5-b20130515
    * Origin: Quinn's Rock - Live from Paul's Xubuntu desktop! (3:640/1384)
  • From Mike Powell@1:2320/105 to PAUL QUINN on Friday, May 03, 2019 20:03:00
    IMHO: this is unnatural to a native speaker. (I don't know where Mike got his >rule from, although it may be correct for 99.99% of cases in his locale.) The >passage should read: "...lack of progress means they are not...". It could be >countable, in either the case of there being many (persons) involved, or in the
    singular case of one person, when speaking of 'their'. English can be >annoyingly imprecise at times. 8-)

    That is how I would also say it, as lack is singular. :)

    Mike

    ---
    SLMR 2.1a My wife made me join a bridge club...I jump next week.
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  • From Mike Powell@1:2320/105 to ALEXANDER KORYAGIN on Friday, May 03, 2019 20:05:00
    If we apply Mike's rule we'll see that "progress" is an uncountable noun, as >should be "lack", and, therefore, it should be "lack of progress MEAN they are >not..." So the rule is not working.

    No, it would be lack and means. I may be using "singular" and
    "uncountable" interchangably (and incorrectly!), but I would use MEANS in
    your example also.

    Mike

    ---
    SLMR 2.1a True Multitasking = 3 PCs and a chair with wheels!
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  • From Paul Quinn@1:1/0 to Mike Powell on Saturday, May 04, 2019 16:29:54
    Hi! Mike,

    On 05/04/2019 10:03 AM, you wrote:

    English can be annoyingly imprecise at times. 8-)

    That is how I would also say it, as lack is singular. :)

    OTOH, English lacks some 'super powers' that are inherent in other languages. E.g. a plural form of 'their' separate from a singular form.

    ;)

    Cheers,
    Paul.

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    * Origin: Deja Booboo: The feeling you've screwed this up before. (3:640/1384.125)
  • From Alexander Koryagin@2:221/6 to Mike Powell on Saturday, May 04, 2019 11:13:50
    Hi, Mike Powell!
    I read your message from 04.05.2019 03:05

    If we apply Mike's rule we'll see that "progress" is an
    uncountable noun, as should be "lack", and, therefore, it should
    be "lack of progress MEAN they are not..." So the rule is not
    working.

    No, it would be lack and means. I may be using "singular"
    and "uncountable" interchangably (and incorrectly!), but I would
    use MEANS in your example also.

    I understood where I had misunderstood. I thought that I should use the verb form like "meanS" only with countable nouns. For instance, I thought that

    Water erode rock.

    but in reality

    "Water erodes rock."

    ;-) Well, poor practice.

    Bye, Mike!
    Alexander Koryagin
    english_tutor 2019

    ---
    * Origin: nntps://fidonews.mine.nu - Lake Ylo - Finland (2:221/6.0)
  • From Mike Powell@1:2320/105 to ALEXANDER KORYAGIN on Saturday, May 04, 2019 15:51:00
    Water erode rock.

    but in reality

    "Water erodes rock."

    That sounds correct. :)

    Take Care!
    Mike

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    SLMR 2.1a Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!!
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  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Alexander Koryagin on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 23:52:20
    Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to All:

    -----Beginning of the citation-----
    Historical opinion is now split. Some scholars think
    that the lack of contemporary accounts of Arthur mean
    he is a later invention.
    ----- The end of the citation -----


    1. What about the absence of article before "Historical
    opinion"?


    I've seen both "public opinion" and "scientific opinion" elsewhere, without articles, so this usage makes sense to me.



    2. why do they write "mean" instead of "means"?


    In brief, I reckon somebody goofed.... :-Q



    IMHO the lack of ... means...


    Agreed. The bare subject is "lack", the bare predicate is "means". OTOH the plural "accounts"... while it may lead native speakers astray because it's +\- the last thing they noticed before the verb... is irrelevant to folks who can recognize a prepositional phrase as descriptive material which doesn't enter into the equation regardless of whether or not xxx is countable.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Mike Powell on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 22:36:58
    Hi, Mike! Recently you wrote in a message to ALEXANDER KORYAGIN:

    I may be using "singular" and "uncountable" interchangably
    (and incorrectly!), but I would use MEANS in your example
    also.


    IMHO your usage is correct, although you're not sure how to explain it. Maybe I can help a bit re the latter.... :-)



    The term "singular" is used with reference to a noun indicating the name of a single person, place, thing, idea, organization, or event:


    My friend Mary enjoys horseback riding.

    Vancouver, BC is located near the Pacific Ocean.

    I have an eraser on my desk.

    Love makes the world go 'round.

    The city council wants to install more bike lanes.

    Our folk music festival takes place annually at Jericho Park.



    As a native speaker, you may not have heard the terms "countable" & "uncountable" in school. I think I probably learned them from Alexander. But you may recall being taught about stuff which is usually measured by weight or by volume... e.g. various liquids, meat/fish/poultry, cheese, and salt because it's okay to say "less" whereas with countable objects one should say "fewer".

    People, places, and concrete objects such as erasers are countable. When I specify my friend Mary I do it because I'm aware that a number of other folks have the same name. When I specify Vancouver, BC I do it because I know there's a city in Washington State with the same name. WRT erasers.... I have two, actually, but I would direct others to the one which is easier to find if they don't care whether they are using a Pink Pearl or an artist's gum eraser.

    I reckon where some of the confusion lies is that we treat abstract nouns as singular. Your teachers & mine may not have gone into detail re such concepts because... while the average student in junior high is experiencing a phase of rapid brain growth which is the ideal time to introduce them... other students will claim loudly & adamantly that abstract nouns don't exist because Miss Grinch in grade three never mentioned them. OTOH, the common parlance is rife with examples many native speakers will have seen or heard before:


    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Handsome is as handsome does.

    Happiness is a warm puppy.

    Home is where the heart is.

    Honesty is the best policy.

    Many a mickle makes a muckle (Scottish proverb).

    Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of
    the squares on the other two sides.


    If we cast our minds back a century or so, many people from Ireland decided to relocate in the USA because the Potato Blight meant they didn't have enough to eat. Not long afterward some of my ancestors from England decided to relocate in Canada... perhaps at least in part, as I discovered recently, because there was an economic recession in certain areas which made it difficult for them to find paid employment. When I run examples through my head, using synonyms for "lack", I keep coming up with the same answers. Whether these people suffered from a lack of food, an insufficiency of funds, or what have you they chose to "seek their fortune" in a developing country which eagerly adopted & sometimes even actively recruited farmers & other skilled workers of all sorts.... :-))




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Mike Powell@1:2320/105 to ARDITH HINTON on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 20:01:00
    I may be using "singular" and "uncountable" interchangably
    (and incorrectly!), but I would use MEANS in your example
    also.

    IMHO your usage is correct, although you're not sure how to explain it. Maybe I can help a bit re the latter.... :-)

    That is a good way to put it. :)

    As a native speaker, you may not have heard the terms "countable" &
    "uncountable" in school. I think I probably learned them from Alexander. But >you may recall being taught about stuff which is usually measured by weight or >by volume... e.g. various liquids, meat/fish/poultry, cheese, and salt because >it's okay to say "less" whereas with countable objects one should say "fewer".

    Thanks, I am not sure I did ever hear those terms used, but you have successfully reminded me of the difference between using "less" and
    "fewer." I shall have to admit that it this part of the US, you are not
    likely to hear "fewer" used much... although I agree it is correct, I
    believe most Kentuckians would use "less" in both instances. :)

    I reckon where some of the confusion lies is that we treat abstract
    nouns as singular. Your teachers & mine may not have gone into detail re such >concepts because... while the average student in junior high is experiencing a >phase of rapid brain growth which is the ideal time to introduce them... other >students will claim loudly & adamantly that abstract nouns don't exist because >Miss Grinch in grade three never mentioned them. OTOH, the common parlance is >rife with examples many native speakers will have seen or heard before:

    I am not certain that we spent much time on abstract nouns, either. We did learn that they could be used as nouns but I don't think much emphasis was
    put on the "abstract" bit. :)

    Mike

    ---
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  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Mike Powell on Thursday, May 30, 2019 23:46:10
    Hi, Mike! Recently you wrote in a message to ARDITH HINTON:

    As a native speaker, you may not have heard the terms
    "countable" & "uncountable" in school. I think I
    probably learned them from Alexander. But you may
    recall being taught about stuff which is usually
    measured by weight or by volume... e.g. various
    liquids, meat/fish/poultry, cheese, and salt because
    it's okay to say "less" whereas with countable objects
    one should say "fewer".

    Thanks, I am not sure I did ever hear those terms used,
    but you have successfully reminded me of the difference
    between using "less" and "fewer." I shall have to admit
    that it this part of the US, you are not likely to hear
    "fewer" used much...


    It's becoming increasingly rare around these parts. And FOWLER'S, a
    UK source, notes that many people use "less" with countable nouns but describes such situations as "regrettable"... [wry grin].



    I am not certain that we spent much time on abstract nouns,
    either. We did learn that they could be used as nouns but
    I don't think much emphasis was put on the "abstract" bit.


    Various terms have been used to codify English grammar. Some people
    tried to improve on traditional grammar forty or fifty years ago... but the net result was that many others threw up their hands in despair & gave up trying to figure it out. I am grateful for having learned traditional grammar because my reference books & my Russian friends use +/- the same terminology. When I know the name of some concept or other I can look it up, and I learn a lot that way.

    People who are learning English as a foreign language have access to
    charts & diagrams you & I have probably never seen. But if as a native speaker you happened to be in my class while another student was trying to persuade his audience that love, friendship, and willingness to learn don't exist because he is stuck on an eight-year-old level... I would have done my best to cite enough examples before the discussion ground to a halt that you would understand. :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)