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Elwyn
03-29-2006, 03:48 PM
Of the two sentences below, which one is "more" correct and why? Anyone have a clue?


but certainly is not limited to........
but is certainly not limited to.......

alleycat
03-29-2006, 04:33 PM
The second one.

Now, where's those grammar gurus. . . .

Forbidden Snowflake
03-29-2006, 04:47 PM
The second one. I vaguely remember something about those little words always coming before the verb. Now, why that was, no clue ;)

CaroGirl
03-29-2006, 05:12 PM
Of the two sentences below, which one is "more" correct and why? Anyone have a clue?


but certainly is not limited to........
but is certainly not limited to.......
The second one, and I'll tell you why. The modifier in these examples is "certainly". In the sense that you want to convey, certainly has to modify the word "not", not the word "is". You want to say "certainly not", not "certainly is". Clear as mud yet? Essentially, the first sentence contains a misplaced modifier and is therefore incorrect.

Hope this helps.

Strongbadia
03-29-2006, 06:37 PM
You should post the whole sentence. A fragment does not tell the whole story.

Medievalist
03-29-2006, 07:03 PM
Of the two sentences below, which one is "more" correct and why? Anyone have a clue?


but certainly is not limited to........
but is certainly not limited to.......

I'd rather see the context, but this is a question of usage and style, not grammar.

ColoradoGuy
03-29-2006, 07:10 PM
I'd rather see the context, but this is a question of usage and style, not grammar.
I agree. The grammar is correct in each, but the emphasis differs. Say them out loud, stressing by turns the "certainly" and the "not" in the various places and the one that you want will probably grab you. On the other hand, most likely you have already tried that approach.

Elwyn
03-29-2006, 08:03 PM
The target audience includes, but is certainly not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

vs.

The target audience includes, but certainly is not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

Thank you all on this!:Hug2:

To me, good writing cannot always be grammatically correct. Sometimes correct grammar can make sentences read and sound clunky. But, when writing a query letter, Im afraid that the reader is looking for correct grammar; but I really dont know for sure.

Stew21
03-29-2006, 08:12 PM
in the full sentences, you changed the order of them, so based on the full sentences, the first one is correct.

CaroGirl
03-29-2006, 08:19 PM
I agree. The grammar is correct in each, but the emphasis differs. Say them out loud, stressing by turns the "certainly" and the "not" in the various places and the one that you want will probably grab you. On the other hand, most likely you have already tried that approach.
I think this absolutely is a grammar question, about misplaced modifiers. Im not sure when you would ever, in a negative sentence, want certainly to modify is instead of not. Can you guys explain that to me cuz Is confloozed? (but always ready to learn something noo).

jst5150
03-29-2006, 08:20 PM
The second one because its larger. :-)

Elwyn
03-29-2006, 09:48 PM
I think this absolutely is a grammar question, about misplaced modifiers. Im not sure when you would ever, in a negative sentence, want certainly to modify is instead of not. Can you guys explain that to me cuz Is confloozed? (but always ready to learn something noo).

In the above statement, I would have written "want to certainly modify" vs. "want certainly to modify."

I'd probably be wrong, but it just sounds better to me.;)

Actually, I'd leave out certainly because it seems confusing (to me).

Medievalist
03-29-2006, 10:35 PM
The target audience includes, but is certainly not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

vs.

The target audience includes, but certainly is not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

I'd remove certainly. It's excess baggage.

I prefer the second, but not for a grammatical reason. Both are grammatically correct; it's a style / usage issue.

It's not a misplaced modifier. Parse the sentence.

Medievalist
03-29-2006, 10:36 PM
In the above statement, I would have written "want to certainly modify" vs. "want certainly to modify."

I'd probably be wrong, but it just sounds better to me.;)

Actually, I'd leave out certainly because it seems confusing (to me).

Oh dear . . . here comes the dreaded split infinitive chasm . . .

reph
03-29-2006, 11:06 PM
I decide each of these on the facts of the case and on sound. "The target audience...certainly is not limited to..." has a defensive tone. You'd use it to rebut a previous assertion that the audience was limited to...

"Is your mother a prostitute?"
"She certainly is not!"

If you're merely emphasizing that the audience isn't limited to..., "is certainly not limited" works. As above, though, you don't need "certainly" this time.

blacbird
03-30-2006, 12:50 AM
I'd remove certainly. It's excess baggage.


I agree. This isn't particularly a grammar problem. It's more a problem of the weakness and superfluity of an adverb.

caw.

Jamesaritchie
03-30-2006, 02:27 AM
I, too, would remove "certainly." Having said that, I think it is a grammar problem. It should be "certainly not."

Strongbadia
03-30-2006, 08:41 AM
What sentence are all of you even talking about? It does not seem clear to me what you are correcting.

maestrowork
03-30-2006, 09:02 AM
Adverbs are a very strange thing -- they can go almost anywhere.

Certainly it's not limited to...

It's certainly not limited to...

It certainly is not limited to...

It's not limited to, certainly,...

It comes down to what sounds the best...

reph
03-30-2006, 09:40 AM
What sentence are all of you even talking about? It does not seem clear to me what you are correcting.
The sentence is in post #1 of this thread.

veronie
03-30-2006, 09:45 AM
This has been said already, but I wanted to affirm it. Both sentences are correct, but they each say something a little different.

"but certainly is not limited to ..." This sentence indicates the speaker/writer is sure (certain) that the issue at hand is not limited to ...

"but is certainly not limited to ..." This sentence indicates that the issue at hand is surely (certainly) not limited to ...

You see the difference?

luxintenebrae
03-30-2006, 09:55 AM
Reading these posts, it began to feel like when you repeat a word over and over in your head until it doesn't sound like a real word anymore. Now "certainly" looks like a funny word to me. :tongue

But I agree. I thought adverbs could be put almost anywhere in a sentence, depending on what style and tone the writer is trying to express. I think the placement of "certainly" can suggest not only a defensive tone, but also can give the sentence a more formal or conversational tone. That's why they're fun to play around with.

luxintenebrae
03-30-2006, 10:03 AM
This has been said already, but I wanted to affirm it. Both sentences are correct, but they each say something a little different.

"but certainly is not limited to ..." This sentence indicates the speaker/writer is sure (certain) that the issue at hand is not limited to ...

"but is certainly not limited to ..." This sentence indicates that the issue at hand is surely (certainly) not limited to ...

You see the difference?

I guess, after reading them over several times, it sort of seemed like each could mean something different. But when I reversed them, imagining the speaker was certain in the 2nd one and the issue was certainly in the 1st one, they sounded fine that way, too. Seems a bit ambiguous.

Medievalist
03-30-2006, 10:09 AM
Adverbs are a very strange thing -- they can go almost anywhere.

The only requirement is that there be a verb--and the copula "be" counts.

In case anyone was dying of curiousity, this is one of the few totally cool things Modern English inherited, syntacticly, from Old English.

Yeah, I thought y'all would be ecstatic ;)

Strongbadia
03-30-2006, 10:29 AM
The sentence is in post #1 of this thread.

but certainly is not limited to........
but is certainly not limited to.......

Neither example is a complete sentence. It is a little difficult to give a right or wrong answer when the rest of the sentence is not given. It is also difficult to give an answer when the anaphoric reference is not present. I would like to see what is before the conjunction.

reph
03-30-2006, 10:32 AM
Oops, sorry. The whole sentence is in post #8.

blacbird
03-30-2006, 06:53 PM
Adverbs are a very strange thing -- they can go almost anywhere.

Certainly it's not limited to...

It's certainly not limited to...

It certainly is not limited to...

It's not limited to, certainly,...

It comes down to what sounds the best...

One of the best places for adverbs to go is out.

caw.

dlcharles
03-30-2006, 06:56 PM
[QUOTE=Elwyn]The target audience includes, but is certainly not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

vs.

The target audience includes, but certainly is not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction.

I would drop the word 'certainly' completely in this case, as it becomes rather redundant.

Lauri B
03-30-2006, 08:05 PM
Quite frankly, if you're trying to tell an editor that your book is geared to young adults but would appeal to a wider audience, just say so without sounding like you're doing a research project. Say, "Title of My book is geared to young adults, but would appeal to a wider audience of fantasy readers, as well." Or something like that. If your query sounds incredibly stilted and formal, what kind of impression is that leaving on a potential editor? (duh: that your writing is stilted and formal).
Good luck!

dlcharles
03-30-2006, 09:18 PM
Perfect, Nomad. Now why didn't I phrase it that way? Don't answer that question.

Elwyn
03-31-2006, 02:21 AM
Quite frankly, if you're trying to tell an editor that your book is geared to young adults but would appeal to a wider audience, just say so without sounding like you're doing a research project. Say, "Title of My book is geared to young adults, but would appeal to a wider audience of fantasy readers, as well." Or something like that. If your query sounds incredibly stilted and formal, what kind of impression is that leaving on a potential editor? (duh: that your writing is stilted and formal).
Good luck!

Thanks Nomad - that's one suggestion I won't forget.

veronie
03-31-2006, 06:09 AM
Nomad, I agree with you about certainly being stilted and unnecessary. But we are talking grammar here, not style. So, the question remains. And I think the question has been answered, in that certainly changes the meaning of the sentence depending on where it is placed.

"The target audience includes, but is certainly not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction." [The target audience is not limited to young adults.]

"The target audience includes, but certainly is not limited to, young adults who read fantasy/adventure/science fiction." [I as the author certainly do not think that the target audience is limited to young adults] (The writer's viewpoint is asserted more in this sentence than in the first one. This sentence seems to give the writer's viewpoint more as a matter of opinion, while in the first the author states the idea as a matter of fact.)

But, Nomad's point about style is valid. The certainly doesn't need to be in the sentence at all.

Suggested rewrite: The target audience is broader than young readers of science fiction and fantasy. (I abhor slashes.)

veronie
03-31-2006, 06:24 AM
"To me, good writing cannot always be grammatically correct. Sometimes correct grammar can make sentences read and sound clunky. But, when writing a query letter, Im afraid that the reader is looking for correct grammar; but I really dont know for sure."

Elwyn, I disagree with that statement. Writing that is stilted and clunky has nothing to do with good or bad grammar. Writing that is alive and fresh can, and should, be correct grammatically.

Some of the best writers in the world are also masters of grammar. It shouldn't be too surprising either, since writing well usually requires a good command of the written word. What makes some writing boring and listless is the lack of personality and pizazz. Some writers think they have to sound intellectual or pedantic. They only use simple declarative sentences, which, while important to good writing, are mundane when they are the only part of the writer's repertoire.

A great book on all this is "Sin and Syntax." Check it out. :)

Medievalist
03-31-2006, 07:41 AM
Nomad, I agree with you about certainly being stilted and unnecessary. But we are talking grammar here, not style.

No, really, we're not talking about grammar. I wouldn't lead you astray. Either sentence is grammatically correct. The difference is a matter of syntax, that is, the order of words in the sentence; either order is acceptable in terms of grammar, so that the decision is a question of usage and style.

Medievalist
03-31-2006, 07:44 AM
Writing that is stilted and clunky has nothing to do with good or bad grammar. Writing that is alive and fresh can, and should, be correct grammatically.

That's not the case in fiction, or drama; if you have a character who is three, he's going to use the typical grammar of a three year old. If you have a character who learned English as an adult and is less than fluent, his grammar will reflect that. People, even well-educated native speakers, freqently make grammatical errors in speech; that kind of authenticity in dialog helps create believable characters.

veronie
03-31-2006, 07:46 AM
"That's not the case in fiction, or drama; if you have a character who is three, he's going to use the typical grammar of a three year old. If you have a character who learned English as an adult and is less than fluent, his grammar will reflect that. People, even well-educated native speakers, freqently make grammatical errors in speech; that kind of authenticity in dialog helps create believable characters."

That goes without saying. I was talking about narrative.

veronie
03-31-2006, 07:49 AM
No, really, we're not talking about grammar.

I'm not trying to sound nasty here, but we were talking about grammar. At least, that was the original question. And most people have agreed that both sentences are correct grammatically, as have you. Now, the further question has to do with style, you are right. And as far as that is concerned, a rewrite is in order. That's all I was trying to say.

Edited-in post script: I take back my comments to Nomad. He was addressing the issue of style in particular, not the original question of grammar. And he's right-on. My apologies. I didn't mean to confuse things. :)