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Need advice on connecting two English sentences
Thread poster: lbone

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 23:50
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Sep 12, 2010

I have two sentences:
Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China. These works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Is it possible and how to connect them gracefully? I am not very sure connecting like this is acceptable in strict grammar:
Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China which were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.


[Edited at 2010-09-12 07:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-09-12 07:09 GMT]


 

Jai Walia
India
Local time: 21:20
Hindi to English
Bridging 2 sentences without losing the specifics. Sep 12, 2010

This is one way of connecting the sentences without losing the specifics:-

'Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the grest astrologers of ancient China, which were lying scattered in royal classics or private collections till he found them'.


 

Alexandre Loureiro Guimarães Alcantara
Brazil
Local time: 12:50
English to Portuguese
+ ...
ambiguity Sep 12, 2010

Make it simple and add an "and" to connect the sentences without saying that, perhaps the great astrologers were scated, instead of their works.

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 17:50
German to Serbian
+ ...
I like the comma. Sep 12, 2010

I like the comma added by Jai. However, I think that "till he found them" involves a new element in the meaning, which is not implied in the Ibone's version.

I also like the added Gerund "lying". Much more stylish and elegant.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Until Sep 12, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:


I like the comma added by Jai. However, I think that "till he found them" involves a new element in the meaning, which is not implied in the Ibone's version.

I also like the added Gerund "lying". Much more stylish and elegant.


"till" sounds very awkward. I would replace it with "until".


 

Odette Bélanger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:50
French
+ ...
another way of saying it Sep 12, 2010

Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting the works of the great ancient China astrologers for these works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

In the other proposition, Iagree, if you keep the added words with "till", that it should be until.


 

Andrew Cox  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 01:50
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
+ ...
why join them? Sep 12, 2010

The two sentences work fine on their own. Moreover, all of the options suggested change the sense of the original to some degree.

 

Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
+ ...
Who/that/where Sep 12, 2010

lbone wrote:

I have two sentences:
Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China. These works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Is it possible and how to connect them gracefully? I am not very sure connecting like this is acceptable in strict grammar:
Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China which were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance.


[Edited at 2010-09-12 07:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-09-12 07:09 GMT]


They can be connected and it would probably improve the flow if done so elegantly (and correctly).

PS. XXX represents a word deleted as not necessary, in this case, "the".


Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting WORKS by XXX great ASTROLOGERS in ancient CHINA. These works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.


In CAPS are three possible referents which will precede the WHICH/THAT clause so we need to be sure there's no confusion or ambiguity.

We can eliminate CHINA as a source of confusion, since for places the relative would/should be WHERE.

That leaves ASTROLOGERS and WORKS, one a PERSON, the other an OBJECT. For PEOPLE we use WHO/THAT, for OBJECTS we use THAT/WHICH. That is: Is it the WORKS or the ASTROLOGERS that "are scattered..." (see below about logic).

If we say:

Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting WORKS by XXX great ASTROLOGERS in ancient CHINA WHICH were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Then grammatically we are OK, as the WHICH cannot refer to ASTROLOGERS and can only refer to WORKS.

OK, so what if we said: Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting WORKS by XXX great ASTROLOGERS in ancient CHINA THAT were scattered in royal classics or private collections.?

It's not a problem either, as our logic would indicate that ASTROLOGERS are not "scattered .... in collections".

However, we often have sentences where the referent of the WHICH/THAT subclause is not so clear. For example, if we have two referents that were OBJECTS, then we might have to actually rewrite the sentence so that the WHICH/THAT subclause was as close as possible to the referent.


[Edited at 2010-09-12 18:47 GMT]


 

Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
+ ...
gerund option Sep 12, 2010

Lingua 5B wrote:


I like the comma added by Jai. However, I think that "till he found them" involves a new element in the meaning, which is not implied in the Ibone's version.

I also like the added Gerund "lying". Much more stylish and elegant.


Except I wouldn't put a comma before the "lying" if the sentence was rephrased as:

Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by XXX great astrologers in ancient China (lying) scattered in royal classics or private collections.

Exept I don't see that "lying" should be added anyway.

[Edited at 2010-09-12 18:49 GMT]


 

Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
+ ...
Why add "lying"? Sep 12, 2010

Jai Walia wrote:

This is one way of connecting the sentences without losing the specifics:-

'Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the grest astrologers of ancient China, which were lying scattered in royal classics or private collections till he found them'.


I suggest that including "lying" is unnecessary:-)


 

Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
+ ...
For = Because Sep 12, 2010

Odette Bélanger wrote:

Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting the works of the great ancient China astrologers for these works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.

In the other proposition, Iagree, if you keep the added words with "till", that it should be until.


Sorry, but your use of "for" is "becuase" and makes the sentence sound as follows:

Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting the works of the great ancient China astrologers BECAUSE these works were scattered in royal classics or private collections.


 

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 23:50
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone! Sep 14, 2010

Thank you all for your time and analyses, especially the great details by Bilbo Baggins.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:50
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
reverse the order Sep 14, 2010

Would this work in your context?
It does call for a slight rephrasing:

The works by the great astrologers in ancient China were scattered in royal classics or private collections, and Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting them.

There is a logical sequence of time, or cause and result. (To some western, English-speaking minds, anyway...)


 

lbone  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 23:50
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
order Sep 14, 2010

Christine Andersen wrote:

Would this work in your context?
It does call for a slight rephrasing:

The works by the great astrologers in ancient China were scattered in royal classics or private collections, and Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting them.

There is a logical sequence of time, or cause and result. (To some western, English-speaking minds, anyway...)


Thank you Christine.

I have submitted the job including this part two days ago. Anyway, the discussion is interesting by itself.

I have some right to slightly edit my client's text. Based on my understanding of the whole job, Jack is the focus in this document. I think the important part of these two sentences is "Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting these valuable works..." Other parts are less important modifiers.

[Edited at 2010-09-14 15:54 GMT]


 

Peter Motte  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:50
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Don't connect Sep 14, 2010

I don't see a reason to connect them.

Maybe you could simplify it a bit, like this:

"Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China. These works were scattered in royal classics or private collections."

change to:

"Jack spent a lot of time and money collecting works by the great astrologers in ancient China. They were scattered in royal classics or private collections."

That leaves out the repetition of "works", and the subject becomes a bit shorter.

Unless you really have a good reason to connect those two sentences two one, I wouldn't do it, because the first sentence is quite long.


 
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