Like Bertie Russell!
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana Manister
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[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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