Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Grammar Answer Key

1. Even more ridiculous is the idea of cooking it in a bag.
 
2. Overstuffing the turkey makes the stuffing come out dense and the turkey difficult to cook properly.

A happy thanksgiving to all!-- And may your turkeys be neither ridiculous nor improperly cooked.

10 comments:

FedUpMom said...

Arg! "Even more ridiculous is the idea"? There's that "red is the color" word order again!

One traditional way to get around this awkwardness is the expletive "it's", as in "It's even more ridiculous to cook the turkey in a bag." That sounds a lot better to me.

FedUpMom said...

I just noticed that I took the word "idea" out of the sentence, which, IMHO, is also an improvement. What are we trying to criticize, the idea or the action?

For comparison's sake, here's your proposed sequence:

Some people think that soaking a turkey in brine overnight makes it tastier. Even more ridiculous is the idea of cooking it in a bag.

Here's my proposed sequence:

Some people think that soaking a turkey in brine overnight makes it tastier. It's even more ridiculous to cook the turkey in a bag.

If I were actually going to write this paragraph, though, I would put something in the first sentence to indicate that I think brining is a ridiculous idea. (I personally think it might be a good idea, but that's a different issue ...) Otherwise it's jarring, in any version, to get to the second sentence and suddenly be told that brining is a ridiculous idea, only to be outdone by bagging.

FedUpMom said...

After discussion with Sainted Linguist Husband and reading the "tough movement" wikipedia page, I think what you've done isn't really tough movement.

The result of tough movement is:

Noun is adjective to verb.

where the noun is logically the object of the verb.

For instance, "That movie was hard to watch."

None of the example sentences in the wikipedia "tough movement" article have the form of your proposed sentence, "Even more ridiculous is the idea ...":

Adjective verbs the noun.

This form always hits my ear wrong, unless it's in a poetic context, as in:

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

Katharine Beals said...

FedUpMom-- you have an aversion to this word order, but many writers use it quite effectively. Introducing this option is the point of exercise 1.

Katharine Beals said...

The answer to exercise 2, meanwhile, is Tough Movement, seen in the embedded clause "the turkey is difficult to cook properly"--precisely as Wikipedia describes it.

FedUpMom said...

Right, exercise 2 is tough movement, but exercise 1 is not, and shouldn't be part of a section labeled "tough movement."

FedUpMom said...

I guess what I'm saying is it would have been clearer to put the inversion exercise directly under the description of inversion.

FedUpMom said...

Katharine -- here's a challenge for you -- I'd like to see an example of "adjective verbs the noun" in a non-poetic context that looks and sounds like good style. Convince me!

Katharine Beals said...

There are scores of them in a forthcoming history textbook I'm involved with. And they all sound fine to me--and the editors. Of course, that doesn't mean they wouldn't bother you in particular.

FedUpMom said...

Thinking about it some more, you might be able to sneak this one past me if your proposed paragraph went like this:

Some people think that soaking a turkey in brine overnight makes it tastier. That's ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the idea of cooking it in a bag.

I think this one sounds less stilted to me because it really is continuing the idea of the previous sentence.