U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: the grammar of photographic writers

Re: the grammar of photographic writers

Title: Re: the grammar of photographic writers
on 15/10/07 8:29, Don Sweet at don@sweetlegal.co.nz wrote:

Hi Judy

The term  I would use to describe a construction like "we the people" is apposition.  The first word is defined by the other two words.  Metonymy is use of one word as a symbol for another, eg "the War of the Roses" using the emblems of the houses of Lancaster and York (red and white roses respectively) to represent the rival armies.

If you want to say "the choice belongs to we the people" then I think you have to put quote marks around "we the people" thus drawing attention to the fact that you are quoting that phrase, and implicitly distancing yourself from its use - perhaps taking a political position.



The Oxford Companion to the English Language defines "apposition" thus:

"Two consecutive, juxtaposed nouns or noun phrases are in apposition when they refer to the same person or thing, and when either can be omitted without seriously changing the meaning or the grammar of the sentence.

" 'Mrs. Thatcher' and 'the British Prime Minister' are in apposition in 'Mrs Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, became leader of the Tory Party in 1975.'

"Here, both 'Mrs Thatcher became leader...' and 'The British Prime Minister became leader...' coul d serve equally well alone. The term is often used when these criteria only partially apply, some grammarians using terms like 'partial' or 'weak apposition' to distinguish types of lesser acceptabilty."

I suspect that if as Judy writes 'we the people,' is a phrase familiar to our American friends from an early age, it would not be strikingly odd, as it is to Australian eyes; and that it fallls into the partial or loose basket.

According to our national anthem, equally familiar to Australians, we live in a country 'girt by sea', which I suppose preserves a rather peculiar and unique phrase which would sound rather odd to many non-Oz English speakers.

(Marvellous what diversions can be found to fill in time waiting for film to dry!)

Regards - Ross

Ross Chambers
Blue Mountains
New South Wales