Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Classic Ambiguity

I took a grammar class in college this spring (and aced it, natch) so I thought I'd share from my textbook. Pg 200…

"The absolute phrase (also known as the "nominative absolute") is a structure independent from the main sentence;(...) The absolute phrase introduces an idea related to the sentence as a whole, not to any one of it's parts:"

 It goes on with examples... I'll skip those.

 "Absolute phrases are of two kinds - with different purposes and different effects. (...) ...the first kind: the absolute that explains a cause or condition. (...) the absolute phrase could be rewritten as a "because, "when" or "since" clause:" The other type... "The absolute construction, on the other hand, leaves open the possibility for other reasons...." etc.,

 "Perhaps the most famous absolute phrase is the one found in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And, as we know, it is open to more than one interpretation:"

 Ah hah! She had a point to this grammar nonsense, you say.

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Does the Constitution Matter

It went like this:

A pro-gun hot-head posting comments to a CNN article proclaimed that he’d taken an oath to uphold the Constitution long ago and had every intention of putting himself on the line to do so now. The “reasonable” not-against-the-second honest-trust-me commenter said:
What if the Constitution changes?
I answered:

 “I think that when a contract is altered that it's a new contract. The one you swore to uphold is the one you swore to uphold. If it's a different Constitution, you'd have to swear over again to the new Constitution.”

 Apparently this is absurd.

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