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BS: Grammar question

GUEST 02 Oct 08 - 11:51 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Oct 08 - 12:07 PM
Paul Burke 02 Oct 08 - 12:29 PM
Ebbie 02 Oct 08 - 12:33 PM
MartinRyan 02 Oct 08 - 12:41 PM
Escapee 02 Oct 08 - 01:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 02 Oct 08 - 02:41 PM
katlaughing 02 Oct 08 - 02:59 PM
Thompson 02 Oct 08 - 03:10 PM
Lox 02 Oct 08 - 03:24 PM
Lox 02 Oct 08 - 03:25 PM
katlaughing 02 Oct 08 - 03:43 PM
Bill D 02 Oct 08 - 03:49 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Oct 08 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Spanish boy 02 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Spanish boy 02 Oct 08 - 05:07 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM
katlaughing 02 Oct 08 - 05:51 PM
Ebbie 02 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM
Bill D 02 Oct 08 - 06:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Oct 08 - 11:32 PM
catspaw49 02 Oct 08 - 11:42 PM
IvanB 03 Oct 08 - 12:03 AM
MartinRyan 03 Oct 08 - 03:21 AM
peregrina 03 Oct 08 - 03:32 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Oct 08 - 04:05 AM
Paul Burke 03 Oct 08 - 04:23 AM
MartinRyan 03 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Spanish boy 03 Oct 08 - 05:08 AM
MartinRyan 03 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Oct 08 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Spanish boy 03 Oct 08 - 02:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Oct 08 - 05:29 PM
peregrina 03 Oct 08 - 05:36 PM
bubblyrat 04 Oct 08 - 09:49 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Oct 08 - 10:26 AM

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Subject: BS: Grammar question
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:51 AM

Hello,I'm a spanish boy and I have a grammar question

Imagine I'm in a crossroad.I want to say that you don't have to choose any directions,you can choose both.Would be correct to say:
-It is like go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction?

Thanks in advance


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:07 PM

That isn't the clearest way to say it, and I question why you would present a point where you have to make a choice then tell your reader they don't have to make the choice.

You're looking for an analogy, and a crossroad works, but it is one of those either/or kinds of situations you're setting up, so trying to tell someone they can walk two directions simultaneously is a bit iffy. I wonder if perhaps you want a crossroad but instead you've created a cul-de-sac (a road that ends in a wide spot).

The American poet Robert Frost wrote a poem called "The Road Not Taken" that is referred to frequently by English speakers to suggest that choices are made at those crossroads. I think you're trying to suggest you could walk a ways one direction and come back and walk the other. I think you'll find this confuses your reader, plus, the roads might change in the meantime.

I don't want to confuse you--your question was clear enough but I don't know how much English you speak. Here is the poem:



The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;         

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,         

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.         

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.         


SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Paul Burke
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:29 PM

It might be easier if you ask the question in Spanish! I can't imagine being at a crossroads where it doesn't matter which way you go- that would imply that all four roads go to the same place.

But I can imagine a road junction that you can go either way at, and end up at the same place. So I'd tell them, "Go to the junction and keep straight on". The information that the alternative route is available is redundant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:33 PM

I love that poem. Thanks, Stilly.

My first thought was that 'Guest, Spanish Boy' may be asking for a phrase that suggests not closing doors, leaving options open.

I hope he comes back.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: MartinRyan
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:41 PM

Si! En castellano, por favor!

I suspect this hinges on a false friend effect - "resignarse" is reflexive in Spanish.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Escapee
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 01:46 PM

" It doesn't matter which way you go " If I got the original question right.
SKP


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 02:30 PM

"All roads lead to Rome"??

"How do you get to the Emerald City? Follow the yellow brick road", which in the movie, at least, splits, branches, and crosses itself, but whichever way you go, it will eventually take you to the Emerald City.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 02:41 PM

Did they call it the yellow, brick road in honor of the cowardly cat?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 02:59 PM

I like to tell folks, when they think there are only two options, that there is always a third, or even a fourth alternative. Maybe not at a literal crossroads, but in life decisions. Sounds to me as if you mean as the others have said, either way, you will still get to the same end spot.

In the old hare and the tortoise story...they both came to the same place in the end, but I'll bet they didn't follow the same path. I'll bet that hare went jumping all over the place, running circles around the slow and steady tortoise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 03:10 PM

"You can go either way" (pointing left and right) or "You can go any way" (pointing left, right and forwards).


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Lox
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 03:24 PM

"-It is like go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction?"

This phrase is wrong. It makes no sense in English.

I'm guessing this is meant to be a line for a song and is intended as a interesting take on the metaphor - it doesn't matter which road you choose.

Spanish Boy,

Imagine you are at a crossroads and one choice is to write "-It is like go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction?"

Don't take that road ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Lox
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 03:25 PM

Don't sell your soul to bad English ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 03:43 PM

Perhaps that's why he asked for our help with the English bits, Lox!?

The way I read that sentence is he's saying one does not have resign themselves to one way being the only direction in which one may go...


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 03:49 PM

You 'could' say, "It is like going, to the crossroads and not choosing either direction." This would be a correct sentence, but dependent on the context.

It would be necessary to say 'crossroads'...plural.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 04:32 PM

Please! One may only have two alternatives. One may have three or more choices or options.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: GUEST,Spanish boy
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 04:36 PM

Hello everybody,and thanks for the replies.

what I want to translate is this:

"Making music is being halfway, go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction"

with the verb "resign" i want to express that i don't have to choose one way or the other,i can choose both of them.

is the verb resign the verb i have to use here?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: GUEST,Spanish boy
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 05:07 PM

Maybe the verb i should use is "Renounce"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM

No, I think "renounce" is not a word that could be useful here.

The only way I can envision using "resign" here is in the sense, mentioned by someone above, of resigning oneself to a forced bad choice, making the best of a bad thing. You seem to want to reject any prescribed choices, and "resign" doesn't help.

Are you fixed on using the crossroads image? That metaphor almost forces one to travel on one of the roadways provided.

I gather that your thought is that in music you are not limited to taking one of two or a small number of directions pre-chosen for you, but can invent or choose some other way to go.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 05:51 PM

Whatever, Richard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM

"...with the verb "resign" i want to express that i don't have to choose one way or the other,i can choose both of them." Spanish Boy

"both" and "either" have two different meanings. For instance, you could say, I want to be both a musician and a lawyer.

Or you could say, I want to be either a musician or a lawyer.

So you would say, I want to take either road. Meaning that it does not matter which road you take.

Or you could say, I want to take both roads. Which is not possible, at least not at the same time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 06:33 PM

"Making music is being halfway, go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction"

I don't think either 'resign' or 'renounce' carries the meaning you want for an English sentence....perhaps "not committed" to any direction?

and you would not say 'go' in that way. "Going" is a verb used as a noun...called a 'gerund'. If you want to say that the act OF traveling to the crossroads is a metaphor for something, using 'going' is a likely way to do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:32 PM

Write the sentence in Spanish the way it originally occurs to you and let those of us who know Spanish speakers (or who are Spanish speakers) have a go at the original. Translation is more than the substitution of one word for another in the same order. To get the right balance and weight of meaning sometimes you must rearrange or rewrite the sentence or remove or rework idiomatic expressions.

To be "resigned" to something means to accept a compromise or less than you hoped for, at least it is in the way you're using the word.

Imagine I'm in a crossroad.I want to say that you don't have to choose any directions,you can choose both.Would be correct to say:
-It is like go to the crossroad and not resign to any direction?


At the crossroad you don't need to settle for any direction, you can do more than one thing, or you can travel more than one path. You might need to mentioned multiple crossroads to get this across, though.

If you're trying to say (for example) that a guitarist doesn't need to choose just classical music, but can also play R&B or rock, then you could state it as "when coming to the realization that you love classical, rock, and R&B guitar, you don't need to settle for any one or them, you can have the best of all worlds." That way you're not limiting yourself by the static image of a simple intersection of roads.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:42 PM

Well there's always......

I don't know whether to shit or go blind.

or

Don't know if I should evacuate my bladder or wind my watch.


Was this helpful?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: IvanB
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 12:03 AM

Richard, one may have any number of alternatives. The number is certainly not limited to two.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 03:21 AM

Richard

I know whence you come but I'm afraid the Oxford has long since given up on this one and defines:

n; One of two or more possibilities.

Ah well!

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar/idiomatic translation question
From: peregrina
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 03:32 AM

Spanish guest, I think you'll need to translate loosely to get the meaning you want in English. I guess that you're thinking along the lines of:

go to the crossroad--any direction you choose is right (pun here on right=correct or right vs left)
or
go to the crossroad, take any route, you can't go wrong

Are you trying to write a song with this, by chance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 04:05 AM

Sorry, Oxford is wrong on this. It is not simply a matter of the latin root "alter" - but the fact that if there are more than two options no one can be alternate to any other. It is a common stupidity, even an accepted stupidity, but still a stupidity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Paul Burke
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 04:23 AM

Keep your options open, don't get tied down, blow with the wind, go with the flow, we have a thousand cliches for the idea, but you should avoid cliches like the plague.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 04:31 AM

That argument is circular, Richard, I'm afraid. Taking Oxford's definition (which, as ever, is descriptive rather than prescriptive), you can!

Incidentally, my monolingual Spanish dictionary has, in effect, the same definition as Oxford. What do the generally prescriptive French say?

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: GUEST,Spanish boy
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:08 AM

Hi there.First of all thanks everybody for the answers,very helpful.

"Hacer música es estar a medio camino, llegar al cruce y no renunciar a ninguna de las direcciones"

I have translated

"Making music is being halfway, arriving at the crossroads and not have to choose only one direction"

Not bad,I think it has the meaning i was looking for.


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM

Aha!

1. "HAVE to choose" in English implies compulsion (i.e. se necesita.. or similar). This is not in the Spanish.

2. The double negative in Spanish confuses things slightly.

A fairly literal translation would be:

"To make music is like being on the road, reaching a junction and not eliminating either road"

The sense is something like:

"Making music is a journey with no predetrmined destination."

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 09:53 AM

Spanish Guest, your translation is almost idiomatic English.

"Making music is being halfway, arriving at the crossroads and not have to choose only one direction"

Since that sentence begins with "Making music is being", it should continue, "and not having to choose".

If that formulation works for you, it's good.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: GUEST,Spanish boy
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 02:46 PM

This is the final text:


""Halfway between Madrid and Paris, a small river crosses the lands. It's not a special place, only a crossroads where nobody stops, but you have to go past it if you want to travel from Spain to France, and the way back. Even before Romans, it's called Ebro. Making music is being halfway, arriving at the crossroads and not having to choose only one direction.River Ebro is still there , thousands of years later, in the exact spot between Madrid and Paris""

Any correction?

Thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:29 PM

One Quibble:

Even before Romans, it's called Ebro.

Since you're talking about a time past, it should be "it was called Ebro".

Oh, and I would take out the comma after "Romans".

Otherwise, fine.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:36 PM

Evocative... Thank you Spaniard; could you return to this thread and post a link if you ever put a recording of this on the web somewhere?


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: bubblyrat
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 09:49 AM

I think that if one was trying to land safely in a damaged aircraft,or rapidly running out of fuel,or whatever, it would be very useful to have more than one other alternative airfield ! So I'm going with the "common usage" crew on this one !


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Subject: RE: BS: Grammar question
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 10:26 AM

""Halfway between Madrid and Paris, a small river crosses the lands. It's not a special place, only a crossroads where nobody stops, but you have to go past it if you want to travel from Spain to France, and the way back. Even before Romans, it's called Ebro. Making music is being halfway, arriving at the crossroads and not having to choose only one direction.River Ebro is still there , thousands of years later, in the exact spot between Madrid and Paris""


Sounds like you're using the word "crossroads" for the word "bridge," something that crosses over but isn't necessarily an intersection of roads (the meaning of "crossroads" in English).

I'm trying to figure out what the literary sense of your paragraph is. The paragraph below is groping at the meaning by rearranging and filling in. Once you know what it is you want to say you can figure out how to say it shorter with perhaps a different set of English idiomatic terms than the Spanish translation renders.

    On the road halfway between Madrid and Paris travellers come to a small river. It's not a special place, it is only a bridge (or wide spot) in the road where nobody stops, but you must cross over if you want to travel to or from Spain and France. Even before the Romans it was named the Ebro. Making music is like being in the middle between those two great cities, arriving at the bridge and not having to travel to Paris or Madrid, but to enjoy the land and river in between. Music, like this river, exists between the great types of music, you don't have to choose Paris or Madrid, rock or classical.


SRS


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