1. Torpeh

    Torpeh Member

    Dec 2, 2006
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    Bexley, Greater London, UK.

    I Never Believed In Hell

    Discussion in '"I never believed in hell"' started by Torpeh, Dec 3, 2006.

    I never believed in 'hell.'

    After all, how could I believe in something that does not exist? No, it is not my religion that forbids my acceptance of hell, as I am a Christian, and I have a duty to believe in what God and the Bible say; neither is it my scepticism in theory: after all, religion is theory, as is evolution, as is existence - everything is just a theory, and if I was not to believe in theory, then nothing would live in my microcosm of reality. And because of this, a debate of what hell actually is arises.

    'Hell' is a curse, a song, a place in Norway, a German inventor, an American songwriter, a famous astronomer, a crater named after the aforementioned astronomer, a volume of literature, a graphic novel and a pizza chain in New Zealand. Even the extraordinary prejudice against descriptivism that pounces upon our dictionaries cannot decide what 'hell' actually is: 'hell (often Hell),' cowers the eleventh edition of the 'Concise Oxford English Dictionary,' tossing a coin to decide whether the proper or improper noun should be listed.

    And it's not just the form of this shapeshifting term that baffles all apparently coherent sources, but its physical composition - its looks. Some say that hell is a pit of flames where Satan resides and tortures all sinners, and others in North America believe that 'hell's half acre' is a great distance. If we are in fact talking in religious terms, then we must also look at Satan: he is often depicted as a fork-wielding, life-yielding man of evil, yet 'Satan' is also a band, a bomb, a Slovak ice hockey player, a Security Administrator Tool for Analysing Networks and shares phonetics with a synonym for wheat gluten.

    This definition dilemma has been brutally excavated from the depths of Wikipedia - which has derivation difficulty of its own: Uncyclopedia, a parody of this 'Massive Multiplayer Online Editing Game,' claims that the name of 'Wikipedia' is a compound of 'wicked paedophilia' and is Latin for 'crack house.' Factually accurate or not, it is still entirely feasible that 'Satan is in Hell' could refer to a Slovak hockey player standing in a crater, or a band located in Norway, rather than the more widely accepted view of an evil man with a pitchfork in a place engulfed by flames. It could also, quite realistically, mean that a pizza chain has wheat gluten - something that has far more evidence than the religious proclamation.

    So, as a human race that is skilled enough to send men to the moon, devise obscure double entendres and import phrases from foreign languages, we must attempt to traverse nimbly the barricade of unclear definition in our writing. Two rules, though - our solution must be easy to comprehend and comply with proper grammar rules. And thus, fellow seekers of semantic perfection, I present to you the grammatical phenomena of dangling modifiers and relative clauses.

    To introduce, let's take our sentence, 'Satan is in Hell,' and add a clause on the end: 'Satan is in Hell, situated strangely.' 'What is situated strangely?' you enquire, and you are right, as we have no idea whether Satan, our ace puck-manipulator, or our pizza chain is situated strangely - a dangling modifier. However, with a quick Wikipedia-like edit, we can change the position of our clause to crystallise our definition: 'Satan, situated strangely, is in Hell.' The doctor of grammar has arrived and gone, leaving you with a perfectly acceptable sentence.

    Linked to dangling modifiers, we have 'garden path' sentences, so named because they either derive from the saying 'to be led down the garden path,' were devised by someone who was describing garden paths or, alternatively, deal with the prominent issue of sentencing people on garden paths - each as possible as the next. To demonstrate this type of sentence, our example is: 'The lawnmower guided past the shed overbalanced.' Once more, you ask whether the shed or the lawnmower overbalance, but this time, we must look upon the theory of relative clauses to scavenge an answer: positioning other clauses will do us no good immediately.

    There are two types of relative clause: restrictive clauses and nonrestrictive clauses, and both function differently, thus changing the overall composition of sentences. To make clear the meaning of each term, restrictive clauses define and nonrestrictive clauses describe. So, 'the men that did the work got rewards' and 'the men, who did the work, got rewards' have different meanings. The first quotation indicates that only the men that did work got rewards, because the men in question are defined by the restrictive clause 'that did the work'; and the second indicates that all of the men did work and all of the men got rewards, because the men aren't defined, but described by the nonrestrictive clause 'who did the work.' Hence the importance of identifying and using restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses arises.

    Now, we have to apply this law to our 'garden path' sentence. First, let us use a restrictive clause and then analyse the sentence: 'The lawnmower that was guided past the shed overbalanced.' The meaning is clearer now, simply with the addition of the restrictive clause 'that was guided past the shed.' We have defined our lawnmower, and all is well: we know what lawnmower we are referring to.

    When we apply a nonrestrictive clause to the sentence, the meaning is very similar, but it is clear that description and not definition has been added: 'The lawnmower, which was guided past the shed, overbalanced.' From this, we can learn two things: relative clauses should be added or repositioned within 'garden path' sentences or 'dangling modifiers' and the choice of relative clause should be carefully considered due to its influence on the overall meaning of a sentence.

    The easiest way to construct these clauses is to learn some relative pronouns, such as 'that, which, who and whom.' However, we must be careful when choosing which relative pronouns, as 'that,' for example, can only be used for initiating restrictive clauses and 'which' only for nonrestrictive clauses. It is also worth noting that nonrestrictive clauses are parenthetic - which means that they can be removed from a sentence and still leave the sentence complete - and so require embedding in commas or dashes. A restrictive clause should not be embedded within a sentence, because the subject of the sentence is not clearly defined without the clause: 'The lawnmower that was guided past the shed overbalanced' without the restrictive clause reads: 'The lawnmower overbalanced' - which lawnmower? Therefore, nonrestrictive clauses can only be used after the subject that they refer to has been clearly defined; context is important.

    So don't go writing sentences similar to 'Satan, the Wikipedian, ate Hell,' which could refer a tool that's used for analysing networks and is a wicked paedophile eating an astronomer, without stocking up and exercising your restrictive clauses beforehand.

    What is hell? Why, it's but a matter of grammatical structure, of course.
  2. melody2006w

    melody2006w Member

    Dec 4, 2006
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    It is very good, keep up the good work peace ......

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