That idiomatic remark "I don't think you can" is much more
prescriptive than "I don't think such a generalisation
is valid". What you think or don't think is valid, is
no prescription for what is valid or invalid for him.
Your original prescription has, phrased as you phrased it,
the connotations of "You are totally wrong" which is as
sweeping a generalisation as any that he may or may not
Glad to focus the language for you.
Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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From: Nancy Gish - Women's Studies [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2003 4:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Prufrock's "smoke"
Of course he did. The idiomatic remark means that I don't think
such a generalization is valid or likely to be true precisely because
it is a sweeping generalization about several centuries and untold
numbers of people.
Glad to be of help in explaining the language.
On 3 Apr 2003, at 15:48, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Nancy Gish - Women's Studies [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> I don't think you can make that generalization.
> But he did, so obviously he can. How can you
> legislate the past?
> Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
> Dept. of English
> Camosun College
> 3100 Foul Bay Rd.
> Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
> [log in to unmask]