his modification of the...

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his modification of the...

Post by navi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:06 am

Are these sentences correct:

1) I am reading his rewrite of his play to please the aristocracy.

He rewrote his play in order to please the aristocracy.

2) I was impressed by his modification of the security programme to fit it to our new system.

3) I was impressed by his modification of the security programme to fit our new system.
He modified the security programme so that it would fit our new system.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: his modification of the...

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:01 pm

To my mind they are all wrong.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: his modification of the...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:46 am

1) is ambiguous (am I reading his rewritten play so that I will please the aristocracy, or did he rewrite it in order to please them?), but it is pretty much impossible to reword it without involving an awkward repetition of rewrite, rewrote, rewritten etc.

The best I can come up with is

He rewrote his play in order to please the aristocracy, and I am reading it.

But that still leaves open the possibility that I am reading the former version, even though the context suggests otherwise. Or you could disambiguate with 'now':
...and now I am reading it.
2) is barbarous.

3) is more or less OK in my opinion, although there is a mild ambiguity (I was impressed ...
to fit our new system).

To completely get rid of the ambiguity, the most elegant solution is to invert the sentence, thereby changing its subject:

His modification of the security program to fit our new system impressed me.
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Re: his modification of the...

Post by tony h » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:36 pm

navi wrote:Are these sentences correct:
Your question is ambiguous. "Correct" in what sense?

Correct: as in "a proper reflection of the facts"?
Correct: as in "consistent with the normal rules of English"?
Correct: as in "clear and unambiguous"?
Correct: as in "appropriately ambiguous"?

Appropriately ambiguous is a very important part of writing. An early instance is the Oracle who is quoted as saying to Caesar "if you cross the river a great city will fall" neglecting to mention which city! And continues in "lifetime guarantee", "when the time is right", "gosh! That's a look!"
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: his modification of the...

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:37 pm

I've just thought of another alternative for 3):

I'm reading the play rewritten by him to please the aristocracy.

It is still possible to detect an ambiguity there, but you would have to go out of your way to do so.
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End of topic.
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