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Like Bertie Russell!
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Diana Manister 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 9:51 AM
  Subject: Re: On the Making of a Simile


  How does a foetus laugh? Diana
   
  Nancy writes:
   
  "So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.
  Nancy"

  > 
  > I don't know what the point is supposed to be here, but the grammatical subject of the sentence is "He." "Laugh" is not even in it: the word is "laughed"--a verb. The core sentence is "he laughed." The rest is modifiers. There may be a difficulty with "like" because it is, in current terms, an adjective and compares nouns, as in "he was like a foetus." But it has been, and colloquially now is, used as an adverb, as in "he laughed like a foetus laughed."
  > 
  > There is no way "laugh" can be the subject of a sentence in which it does not even appear and is in a verb form slotted where verbs are. "Foetal" never appears either, only the noun "foetus." 
  > 
  > In modern English these forms are not interchangeable and syntax determines their function. When Eliot intends a noun/verb form for "laugh," he uses "laughter," as in the following line and the second line. One does have to read what is there and not what is not there.
  > 
  > So the only question that makes grammatical sense is whether the comparison is between Apollinax and a foetus or between the way Apollinax laughs and the way a foetus laughs.
  > Nancy
  > 
  > >>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 03/06/08 10:58 AM >>>
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > But then wouldn't "laugh" be the subject of the sentence, with "foetal" modifying it?
  > His laugh then would be both foetal and irresponsible. Diana
  > Exactly. That's the point I've been trying to make.
  > Thanks for putting it so cogently, Peter.
  > 
  > CR
  > 
  > Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  > 
  > 
  > 
  > No. //A laugh is capable of showing undeveloped (foetal) characteristics.//
  > P.
  > 
  > ----- Original Message ----- 
  > From: Diana Manister 
  > To: [log in to unmask] 
  > Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:52 AM
  > Subject: Re: On the Making of a Simile
  > Peter, so you are saying "a foetal characteristic" is capable of laughing?
  > 
  > 
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