Re: Need some grammar help

Subject: Re: Need some grammar help
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2010 19:43:44 +0200

Andrew wrote:
> I think what you're looking for is the
> difference between "restrictive" and "nonrestrictive" clauses (aka
> "essential" and "non-essential" clauses).

I'd say that "for transport across the internet"
isn't a clause, it's just a prepositional phrase
containing another prepositional phrase.

The problem is that the sentence's next word, "using,"
could refer to two or three different things.

"Your picture will be divided into little packets
of data for transport across the internet
using ___________."

Does the modifier "using ____" refer to how the picture
is divided, how it is transported, or what the little
packets do? I think that by "nonessential" Andrew
means that the intervening phrase stands out of the
way and allows the modifier to refer all the way back
("divided using ____") and by "essential" he means the
phrase asserts enough importance to claim the modifier
as its own instead ("transport using ____"). But there
is no grammatical distinction to identify; the sentence
is simply guilty of ambiguity.

Mark L. Levinson - nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il
"if knowledge is power
what is all this other stuff?" - Maggie Secara

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