1. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    WORD! Dost thou mislead me?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mithrandir, May 1, 2013.

    Greetings,

    As finals and essay due dates approach, I find myself writing frantically -- academically. But this thread is about a specific sentence that has word in a tizzy.

    Word thinks it's a fragment. I disagree. Am I missing something?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    No, you're not. It's a sentence. Fear not. You're still smarter than the robot.
     
  3. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    MS Word is a grand old idiot sometimes... :p
     
  4. Sunny1000
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    Sunny1000 Member

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    I think word is pulling your leg. Do not believe its lies.
     
  5. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are okay, word is just freaking out abut that introductory clause. It will be happy, and I'd argue the sentence would read better, if you change it to:
    "Alike and related to the gods" is redundant and clumsy, because in this context, 'alike' and 'related to' mean basically the same thing.
     
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  6. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    Good, I thought I had gone blind from prolonged exposure to exponential functions... :)

    Edit: LordKyle, I mean 'related' in the biological sense, so the two words don't quite mean the same thing, but I get your point.
     
  7. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    A computer is only as good as the person that made it, so I'm presuming the person that had to check Word before it launched wasn't the most literate of people... :p
     
  8. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd clarify that then: "Mortal heroes and fickle kings, rest upon a foundation of force and brutal war, like the gods to whom they are related."
    Word is panicking because your modifier is preceding the subject. (I suspect)
     
  9. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    The sentence before, and the sentence after, need to be considered also. But it seems okay to me.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I end up ignoring half the green grammar underlines. But sometimes it just wants a comma or a semicolon.
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I changed "rest upon" to "have", and then Word accepted it as a full sentence. Actually, that "rest upon" is slightly unclear, you know, as well as being archaic and flowery. What kind of academic writing are you doing?
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I never take heed of word's grammar freakouts. It's seriously not the smartest.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'rest upon' makes no sense to me, either...
     
  14. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    This is literary criticism, and it makes perfect sense as a metaphor.

    "... mortal heroes and fickle kings 'have' a foundation of force and brutal war" makes no sense. They don't have a foundation of force literally. To be literal, I would have to say that they apply force and make war. 'Rest upon' is a nice metaphor in my opinion. They are elevated ('upon a foundation' implies elevation) socially above the lower classes mainly by their wealth and luxury (rest) which they acquired through force and brutal war.
     
  15. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^ I would say "have" makes as much as, or more, literal sense. They don't literally "rest upon" a foundation, but they can literally "have" a foundation, i.e. base for their rationale or culture. I am a university teacher, and I can tell you that as a breed we tend to dislike cloudy metaphors that obscure processes of argument. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
     
  16. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could also try:
    ... [the stories of ] mortal heroes and fickle kings 'are built upon' a foundation of force and brutal war."

    I'm going to side with Madhoca, in that for academic writing metaphors are best avoided when possible (unless the topic is a metaphor, of course).
     
  17. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I'm going to revise the verb.

    I'm a little confused by the 'the stories of' bit though. Are you saying that I should use the work as the subject here?
     
  18. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am only assuming that the paper is about the stories of ancient kings/heroes; because neither 'mortal heroes' nor 'fickle kings' are actually composed of 'force and war'.

    I am assuming that mortal heroes and fickle kings is not the subject of this sentence. I could be wrong, so feel free to ignore me if I am. Because you are using a metaphor, the passage (when heroes and kings are the subject) can imply that the subject literally lays upon that foundation of force and war. This ambiguity is why metaphors are discouraged in academic works. It is fine, however, if you are referring to an intangible subject, like the stories of said heroes and kings. This is because an intangible obviously cannot physically rest on anything, so it must mean that rest is being used to mean "to be based or founded".
     
  19. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    The subject would be the power of the kings and heroes. This is a sentence in the introduction. Thank you, I now know how I'll revise the sentence.

    Since it's in the intro, the wording is a little more dramatic than the rest of the piece (The rubric says the intro should engage the reader).
     
  20. LordKyleOfEarth
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    Awesome, glad we could help out, and good luck!

    FWIW, I'd break it down:

    --[S/NP]------------[ADJ]-------------------------------[T.V.]------------[D.O.]---------[ADJ]
    The power of mortal heroes and fickle kings, like the gods', is built upon a foundation of force and brutal war."
     

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