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Monday, July 18, 2011

Poll Results 142

Here was the question:

What is wrong here (from a book on 18th-century medicine)? "Not only could hospital surgeons earn fees from teaching apprentices and house pupils; their private practice benefited from their leap in status."

2 (4%)
27 (60%)
0 (0%)
16 (35%)

Congratulations to 60% of you. The semicolon in the middle of the sentence should be a comma. One use of semicolons is to separate two complete sentences, but the "not only" part is not a sentence.


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't "house" be "housing"?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Actually, house pupils is correct. They were medical students who lived at the school.

Westley said...

I don't know about that 'house' vs 'housing' reply. I see it as the surgeons are doing two things: teaching and housing, so the tense of the verbs should be parallel, right?
(teaching apprentices and housing pupils)

On another point, I had always been taught that 'not only' was like an open parenthesis, and it always demanded its matching close paren: 'but also'. I would not only change the semi-colon to a comma, but also I would add 'but also'.

Not only could hospital surgeons earn fees from teaching apprentices and housing pupils, but also their private practice would benefit from their leap in status.

(changing the tense in the second part to match as well)

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Actually, Westley, since this was about the 18th century, the term "house pupils" refers to medical students who lived at the doctor's house. You should read the book: The Knife Man.

As for "not only," I think "but also" sounds good but is not required. I usually avoid "not only ... but also" because it is wordy.

Westley said...

Ah, I see it now. It's a difference of pronunciation. I pronounced it as "howze pupils", the verb. Apparently it should have been "howse pupils", an adjective modifying pupils.

A similar problem happens with 'record' which is either a noun "RECK-ord" or a verb "ree-CORD".

Oh the problems we have to deal with in English.