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Yet More Linguistics Foo

Once more, I am looking for input from people who aren't me, since my judgement is all shot to hell about this sort of thing.

Context/Scenario: Sarah is at a river bank. She meets a goblin who tells her she has to go to the other side. Seeing no bridge, Sarah jumps in and swims across to the other side.

Sentence: Sarah swam where the goblin told her to go.

Is this a reasonable way to say, "Sarah swam to the place which the goblin told her to go to"? That is, if you said/heard this, would you be happy or think "wait...something's wrong with that".

(Reason for caring about this: Is the ability to use "Sarah Verbed [some place]" to mean "Sarah Verbed TO [some place]" a productive sort of process or a weirdness restricted to go?)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2004 12:53 pm (UTC)
What about "Sarah swam to the place which the goblin had told her to go"?

Then again I'm always wrong with this sort of thing, so ignore me ;)
Apr. 12th, 2004 05:47 pm (UTC)
Even that one's a "to" short for me; I'd much prefer "...which the goblin had told her to go to".

In any case, the sentence doesn't seem broken to me, but only because there's an alternative interpretation (as someone says below, that she went where the goblin had told her to go (which goes unmentioned in the sentence) and then swam once she's there). It doesn't seem to work with the intended meaning, to me.

It would, I think, be possible to displace my assumption about what the swimming was for - transitional or purely recreational - by using a more travel-implying verb; "Sarah teleported where the goblin told her to go" I would read as "Sarah teleported to the place the goblin had told her to go to". I'm not sure whether that seems broken, though - not very much so, but probably a little.
Apr. 12th, 2004 07:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah - agreed that a to needs to go on the end. Or you need it in front: to which the goblin had told her to go.

Thanks for teleport: it's a much better verb because you can't really teleport in place, something which you can, in fact, do for swimming.
Apr. 12th, 2004 06:13 pm (UTC)
The word "which" is not correct here. A place is "where" not "which".
To me, the sentence is fine as it is. It's what I would say if I spoke.
Apr. 12th, 2004 01:21 pm (UTC)
Sounds perfectly fine to me. Sorry I never got to your big list of things this weekend :( Let me know if you still want me to do that.
Apr. 12th, 2004 07:48 pm (UTC)
That would actually be great if you could get to it - not too many people sent it back, and I can use all the data points I can get. :)
Apr. 12th, 2004 01:42 pm (UTC)
It's weird to me. It sounds like Sarah got there, then went swimming.
Apr. 12th, 2004 02:58 pm (UTC)
sounds alright to me, though I think I'd be happier if it said "swam to where". But that's what you're asking about anyhow.... Seems about 4/5 as good :-)
Apr. 12th, 2004 04:51 pm (UTC)
I think the connotation feels different though.

"Sarah same to the place which the goblin told her to go" definitely sounds like there was one specific place that the goblin told her to go to and she swam there. It also feels like that one specific place is emphasized and is purposefully remaining unnamed.

"Sarah swam where the goblin told her to go" sounds less like one direct order...almost as if he were guiding her while she was swimming. It doesn't feel as if one specific place is emphasized so it seems a bit more open ended AND there is much less of a feeling of "purposeful mystery" as to the name of the location.

hmm...I'm wondering if any of that made sense.
Apr. 12th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC)
I'm with the "it's missing a to" people. If you hadn't told us what it meant, and I was asked what it meant out of context, I would have thought it meant that the goblin told Sarah to go to a lake, and she took it very literally, thus ended up swimming where he told her to go, after walking/flying/driving/being carried/whatever there.
Apr. 12th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
[nodnod] Yeah - that was the feeling I got. Spleeny. [grin]
Apr. 12th, 2004 07:54 pm (UTC)
The goblin told Sarah to go to the river. He expected her to walk. Instead, she swam. Thus, Sarah swam to the place which the goblin told her to go to.

Okay, okay, it wasn't the point. *g* Yeah, the sentence makes me moderately unhappy, in that if someone said it while I was arguing with them, I would immediately mock them. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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Jalen Strix

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