the notebooks in the drawer

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the notebooks in the drawer

Post by navi » Tue May 09, 2017 10:03 am

Can one use:
1) He tore apart the notebooks in the drawer.
instead of:
2) He tore apart the notebooks that were in the drawer.

Obviously he tore them up after taking them out. They were not in the drawer when they were being torn up.

Can one use:
3) He burnt the notebooks in his room.
if he did not burn them in his room, but somewhere else.

Would this make sense:
4) He burnt the notebooks in his room in the backyard.

Normally, I'd say:
5) He burnt the notebooks that were in his room in the backyard.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by Bobinwales » Tue May 09, 2017 2:30 pm

Try, "had been".
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by tony h » Tue May 09, 2017 7:40 pm

navi wrote:Can one use:
With regard to your starting question: one can usually find a circumstance that makes sense of any sentence and, to that extent the answer will always be "You can use it".
navi wrote:
1) He tore apart the notebooks in the drawer.
instead of:
2) He tore apart the notebooks that were in the drawer.
Yes; but I would probably use from rather than in in most circumstances.
navi wrote: Obviously he tore them up after taking them out. They were not in the drawer when they were being torn up.
He might have torn them up in the drawer ensuring no particles were found on the floor by SOCCO. )I think SOCCO is a Scenes of Crime investigation thingy.
navi wrote:
Can one use:
3) He burnt the notebooks in his room.
if he did not burn them in his room, but somewhere else.
Of course!
"There has been a fire in the back garden it looks like notebooks. What do you think happened?"
"He burnt the notebooks in his room. She took the notebooks from the study and put them in the neighbours dustbin."

Again from might work better.
navi wrote:
Would this make sense:
4) He burnt the notebooks in his room in the backyard.

Normally, I'd say:
5) He burnt the notebooks that were in his room in the backyard.
Not the clearest sentence but context would probably make it clear. You could make it more confusing by a less clear context eg: He lit the candle in his room in her room.
Clearer:
- He burnt the notebooks from his room in the backyard.
- In the backyard he burnt the notebooks from his room.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by navi » Tue May 09, 2017 9:33 pm

Thank you both very much,

Tony, your detailed reply was extremely helpful!
It is true that 'had been' would make things very clear.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by trolley » Tue May 09, 2017 11:03 pm

I'm still trying to figure out why his room was in the back yard...
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Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by tony h » Tue May 09, 2017 11:23 pm

trolley wrote:I'm still trying to figure out why his room was in the back yard...
He had been married a while. In England we call it a shed. Although the term man-cave is now used.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: the notebooks in the drawer

Post by Phil White » Wed May 10, 2017 9:39 pm

Navi,

your intuition is correct. Sentence 1 would probably be understood correctly, as the alternative reading is rather bizarre. Sentence 3 is ambiguous. Sentence 4 is very strange, as the preferred association is "his room in the back yard". Sentence 5 does not help to resolve this.

But we might say either of sentences 4 or 5. Any misunderstanding is resolved in further discourse. We would probably not write something like that. We would probably end up with something like "he took the notebooks that were in his room and burned them in the back yard".
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

End of topic.
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