kitchen table math, the sequel: help desk - grammar

Saturday, June 9, 2007

help desk - grammar

This sounds wrong to me:

Watching the film, the overall impression is of seeing an underwater parade.

source:
English Composition and Grammar
Complete Course
John E. Warriner
p. 158


If you're thinking about buying a Warriner's text, the "complete course" seems like the one to get.

These Amazon reviews are wonderful:

This book was issued to me in my senior year in high school in 1976. I have kept it by my side, has helped me through my college years and then with my children, and now that I have decided to go back to school and am studying translation, I have taken it out of the bookshelf once again because the books we were assigned do not even come close to the perfection (in my idea) of this book. It has traveled with me through the different countries that I have lived in. It is truly a jewel of a book as far as how it is organized, explained and the exercises are very helpful to reinforce what you are trying to learn.


and:

I was issued the 1963 version of this book in high school during the 1970's. I won't let it out of my sight! I brought it to college, and used it to teach my kids what they weren't learning in school. Now my daughter's SAT tutor wants her to have her own copy. I'm sure this updated version will prove invaluable to her as well.



update - from Barry:

Yes, it's grammatically incorrect because after a participial clause ("Watching the film") you want whatever the clause is modifying.


That's what I thought! Does this sentence, as written, mean that the "overall impression" is doing the watching?

Sure wish someone had taught me some grammar way back when...

I've got 3 yummy-looking sentence diagramming books stacked up waiting for my attention, but since I have to teach myself algebra 2, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and physics first - either that or get a second job so I can hire tutors - I don't know when I'm going to learn grammar.

I need to refresh my knowledge of Spanish grammar while I'm at it....

8 comments:

Barry Garelick said...

I used Warriner in high school. The gold standard of grammar.

Catherine Johnson said...

Is that sentence grammatically correct??

Susans said...

It seems clunky to me, that's for sure. I keep wanting to put "While" or "After" in front of it.

Barry Garelick said...

Yes, it's grammatically incorrect because after a participial clause ("Watching the film") you want whatever the clause is modifying. In this case it might be best to say "the viewer's overall impression" rather than "the overall impression" since the latter is not the one watching the film. How do I know this? I learned it using Warriner's.

Are you saying Warriner's is bad or good? Not sure what your message is here.

Barry Garelick said...

Oops; that wouldn't do it, either. Best to say "the viewer has the overall impression of seeing an underwater parade." Or "the viewer is left with the overall impression..." etc etc. But not "the overall impression" by itself.

Catherine Johnson said...

Yes, it's grammatically incorrect because after a participial clause ("Watching the film") you want whatever the clause is modifying. In this case it might be best to say "the viewer's overall impression" rather than "the overall impression" since the latter is not the one watching the film. How do I know this? I learned it using Warriner's.

That's what I thought!

Warriner's looks FANTASTIC (this is just dipping in...) but this sentence was in one of the sample essays!

SusanS said...

That's what I thought! Does this sentence, as written, mean that the "overall impression" is doing the watching?

Right. The word being modified should be close to the phrase. And yes, I did just look that up.

Susan--master of dangling and misplaced modifiers.

SusanS said...

I don't know when I'm going to learn grammar.

Uh, I think you're off the hook once you get a few books published.