[etni] Re: grammar question

  • From: "sbshai" <sbshai@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bnirenberg@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 13:21:55 +0200

Hi Bari,
I think (or at least I hope) no one was suggesting that you're
unfamiliar with grammar!

My response to you was broad-based because (as I've explained), I wanted to
include a  peripheral issue that has come up many times in my classroom --
i.e., the existence of 2 kinds of accepted English, so to speak : "people's'
English (& that includes educated people) and grammarians' English. (I refer
to it that way because I got chewed out on this forum for calling it formal
or written!)
That's why I "went public", though I must admit that I hesitated because I
know that one's intent can be misunderstood (which can lead to an unpleasant
feeling when fingers are pointed at you)!  A case in point: In reviewing
what I've said, I do not find the word "mistake" applied to the structure
you asked about, though I did call it informal.

In any case, I give you credit for taking the risk and posting on ETNI ; we
can all benefit when we talk to each other (I certainly have), as long as we
refrain from using
an antagonistic tone.

BTW, I'll be happy to stand corrected if it can be proved that it's wrong to
use the future tense or the modal (whatever one prefers to call "will"!) in
the result clause of the sentence in question.  I
also stated (as you did) that the use of the imperative needn't affect the
result clause, but I have yet to be convinced that "for" is a temporal when
it's not followed by a time phrase.  Which online source suggested this?
Not all of them are equally reliable, but I really want to know if I'm
mistaken.  (And yes, I'm not afraid for you to say so publicly, as long as
others can gain something from it!)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bari Nirenberg" <bnirenberg@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "Etni" <etni@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, 15 February, 2011 5:49 PM
Subject: [etni] Re: grammar question

>I got a lot of answers to this, mainly off-list, so I thought I'd sum them
> up here.  First of all, I think some people really didn't understand my
> question or didn't take a good look at the sentence, so I'll rewrite it
> here:
> "If you keep it, don't blame me for what happens."
> Several people responded that this is the 1st or zero conditional.
> Clearly
> this IS the first conditional -- the "if" clause is in the present simple
> and the main verb in the result clause is in the imperative (NOT the
> present
> simple!) -- "don't blame me".  However, that doesn't answer my question,
> as
> the verb I was asking about was the verb "happens".  This verb is not part
> of the conditional -- it's in the prepositional phrase at the end of the
> sentence.
> Others suggested that this was a case of temporals, but there is no
> obvious
> temporal at all in this sentence.
> Just a note -- those who presumed that because I'm an English speaker, I
> haven't studied the rules of grammar are very wrong.  I DO know the rules
> and, of course, I'm very familiar with conditionals and temporals, as I
> have
> to teach them.
> In any case, I think that those who said temporals were correct.
> Apparently, the preposition "for" can also act as a temporal (though we
> don't normally teach this -- I've certainly never seen it in any of our
> grammar books, but I did find it online).  There's no "mistake" or use of
> less formal English here, as Batya suggested -- this is absolutely correct
> English and, in fact, I believe the use of "will" here would be incorrect.
> Of course, if there's a grammarian out there with a better explanation,
> I'm
> listening!
> Bari
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