Monday, November 16, 2009

My grievances. Which are grammar-related.

is there someone out there in my vast blog readership who has a background in the world of journalism or is well-versed enough on the rules of print who can explain what i seem to find time and time again when i read my weekly subscription of Time magazine:

a small excerpt from an article discussing the future of the US dollar -

"There's widespread agreement that this setup has to change but little agreement about how to change it. Which is a risky situation."

this always looks wrong to me when i read it, most likely due to the educators of my youth advising us all against the horrors of fragment sentences. have the rules been relaxed since i left school or is this some special exception granted to the news world?

"I wanted to find the answers to my grammatical questions and I searched everywhere. But I found nothing"

just seems like you could bust out some compound sentencing up there and make it flow easier on the eyes.

3 comments:

Steven said...

Allow me to hazard a guess.

1. 'which' is a relative pronoun
2. a 'pronoun' is a noun which stands in place for another noun (its 'antecedent')
3. A complete sentence contains a subject and a predicate

To wit:

Steven is a fine man. He has great virtue.

'He' is the pronoun standing in for "Steven"

to use a relative pronoun we would say

Steven is a fine man who has great virtue.

But not, we could break those two sentences apart.

Similarly,

"there's little agreement about how to change it. Which is a risky situation"

"Which" here functions like "who," it refers to "little agreement."

Therefore, we can substitute

"[There is little agreement about how to change it] is a risky situation"

Typically in English we would want to use something to make that [] enclosed bit more of a cohesive whole

"That there is little agreement" (effectively a single noun now)

is
risky.

Latin does this all the time.

Daedalus did X, Y, Z.

qui respicit ad suum filium Icarum

Here 'qui' is functioning like 'who' or 'which.'

The Social Bobcat said...

well explained, good sir.

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