1. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Is this part of the sentence wrong?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ohmyrichard, Aug 14, 2012.

    Hi,guys.
    This afternoon when I was clearing my daughter's desk for her, I cast a glance at one of the two open pages of her summber break English exercise-book and found an exercise she finished which in my view is wrong. However, when I afterward discussed it with her, she disagreed with me over it and said that the answer to the exercise had been given according to her textbook content. By the way, my daughter will be in the final year of a senior high in my city,located in eastern China.Then we went to that textbook page for a check. My daughter was right about her assertion: according to the textbook reading material, her answer to the problem in her summber break English exercise-book is correct; however, my English linguistic intuition tells me that part of the sentence in question is wrong. The following is the paragraph from which the sentence my daughter and I "quarreled" over is taken:

    Cloning is producing an exact copy of a plant or an animal using its cells. The first mammal to be cloned successfully from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep. She was born in 1996 and died in early 2003, at a much younger age than normal. When she was born, many people were worried that cloning would lead to more diseases in the animal world. However, in general the scientists were praised for their wonderful scientific advance.

    The disagreement betwen my daughter and me is about the underlined part of the second sentence of the above paragraph. My view is that Dolly was already a past event when we are here talking about cloning, so we do not need to use "to be used", which is equal in meaning to "that/which would be cloned" in this writing situation. In my opinion, "to be cloned" should be changed to simply "cloned", which is equal to "that/which was cloned". I insist that "The first mammal cloned successfully from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep" is the best sentence construction in terms of the tense the part of the sentence in question implies. But am I right about it? Please help me out! Thanks a lot!
    Richard
     
  2. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    Both are acceptable and correct sentences, although the first is a bit clunky.

    We would also accept "The first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep."

    For information regarding the verb phrase "to be", go here: http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/verbaux.htm:)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it is grammatically correct... and has the same meaning as gh's version...
     
  4. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks! But which one is a bit clunky?
     
  5. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Hi, Maia. It's been a long time since I last met you here.
    Please, which version is grammatically correct? And in such a situation, what is your native way of talking about the same topic, "to be cloned successfully from n adult cell" or "successfully cloned from an adult cell" or "cloned successfully from an adult cell"?
    Thanks.
     
  6. Cynglen
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    Cynglen Senior Member

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    Both versions are correct, as has been stated already, but using "to be" puts the phrase in passive voice (aka, "clunky"). Generally, when using English you want to avoid using passive voice, since it makes your sentences feel less energetic and sometimes downright odd. Sometimes it can't be avoided easily, so it is grammatically correct.

    Specifically, passive tense is when you make the indirect object of the sentence (that which is receiving the verb) the main subject, as opposed to the direct object (that which is performing the verb). Here is a sentence in active voice (the opposite of passive): Carl threw the ball. Now, to make that passive, you make the ball the center of attention, and the sentence reads: The ball was thrown by Carl. See the difference?
     
  7. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    "To be or not to be, that is the question" is a very famous line from Shakespear, and could be used as a reminder about the passive voice by rephrasing it as: " To be passive, or not (to be) passive. That, when writing, is the question." And often the answer will be subjective, determined by the author.

    Also, often times, the placement of commas in English can be subjective, as well, but that is another story, altogether...
     
  8. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    So, you mean "to be cloned successfully from an adult cell" and "successfully cloned from an adult cell" are both grammatically correct in this context? But "successfully cloned from an adult cell" is also a passive structure just like "to be cloned successfully from an adult cell". In my OP, I focused on:

    The first mammal to be cloned successfully from an adult cell =The first mammal that/which would be cloned successfully from an adult cell
    The first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell =The first mammal that/which was successfully cloned from an adult cell

    And thus I claimed in my OP that "to be done" implies something that you will/would do some time later and that the use of this structure is inappropriate and should be changed to "The first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell".

    Do you really mean that "to be cloned successfully from an adult cell" and "successfully cloned from an adult cell" are both grammatically correct in this context? Thanks!
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    "To be" can be past or future:

    Dolly was the first animal to be cloned...
    A sheep will be the first animal to be cloned...
     
  10. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks a lot.
    Then do you say either "The first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep" or "The first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep" in daily conversations?
    This is really an interesting issue. A few minutes ago, I googled "the first mammal to be cloned" and got a Q&A with the question worded as "What was the first mammal to be successfully cloned?" and the answer being a paragraph beginnng with the sentence "The first mammal cloned from adult cells was Dolly, a ewe, born in July 1996."
     
  11. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks a lot.
    Then do you say either "The first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep" or "The first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep" in daily conversations?
    This is really an interesting issue. A few minutes ago, I googled "the first mammal to be cloned" and got a Q&A with the question worded as "What was the first mammal to be successfully cloned?" and the answer being a paragraph beginning with the sentence "The first mammal cloned from adult cells was Dolly, a ewe, born in July 1996."
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all of those variations are grammatically correct, richard...

    how the sentence would be worded in conversation by a native english speaker only depends on how each person would say it... there's no one way that's any better than the others...
     
  13. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks for your explanations.
     
  14. ohmyrichard
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    ohmyrichard Active Member

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    Thanks to all who have replied!
     

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