Friday, 3 April 2009

Grammar help

Could anyone tell me if this sentence is correct? It's bothering me. Not mine, but I dont know if I should correct it or not. Thanks!

"Living with an English graduate for 4 years has had a, possibly predictable, effect on me."

It's the commas which are worrying me. And I can't get my head round using 'a' when referring to an effect. I know possibly begins with a consonant but still... bothering me.

Thanks again

Juliette

13 comments:

Ellie said...

How about "Living with an English graduate for 4 years has had, a possibly predictable, effect on me."

Or even "Living with an English graduate for 4 years has had an effect on me, possibly predictably."


I think the 'a' is OK if it is followed by a word starting with a consonant even though it refers to 'effect'.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Or: Living with an English graduate has, possibly, had a predictable effect on me.

(or you could move possibly and its commas along one word so that it is: '...has had, possibly, a predictable...')

Amanda said...

I'm not an actual novel racer yet - so hope it's okay to post.
I would say that the sentence is correct - but I personally wouldn't use it as it makes the reader stumble a bit. So instead, I would use one of the version above.
But I could be wrong :-)

Leatherdykeuk said...

It's a bit clumsy. Anything which makes the reader stumble ought to be altered.

I'd rewrite it entirely.

Un Peu Loufoque said...

I'd use "effect upon me" and perhaps predictably...

KeVin K. said...

Four years of living with an English graduate has affected me in ways that, in retrospect, were probably predictable.



Of course, I'm American, so I don't use English very often....

Kate.Kingsley said...

I vote for Graeme's, or alternatively the commas could be replaced:
"Living with an English graduate for 4 years has had a - possibly predictable - effect on me." in order to make the 'possibly predictable' more of an aside.

I can't say for definite of the quoted version is grammatically correct, but it is certainly inelegant!

Flowerpot said...

I'd reword it as it brings me up and stops me reading.

Captain Black said...

Perhaps we should all buy these? I'm not saying we're dummies or anything.

Annieye said...

I think I'd use: 'Possibly predictably, living with an English graduate for four years has had an effect on me.'

I think numbers up to ten are supposed to be written out in full - ie one, two, three, four, etc. Only numbers 11 and upwards are supposed to be written numerically.

KayJay said...

Yeah, I'd rewrite. 'Possibly' is possibly(!) a bit of a weak word and I really don't like the comma after a.

(Why don't you ask the English graduate what they think?)

angelmagnet said...

I agree that it is awkward, but maybe that adds to the inherent meaning of the sentence. In other words, in context, it gives a flavor to the predictable effect.

Philip Sington said...

This is one of those occasions the dash (a more sightly and poetical alternative to the bracket) was made for.

"Living with an English graduate has had a - possibly predictable - effect on me."

Perfect.