cvs commit: www/en about.sgml
ceri at submonkey.net
Wed Nov 8 08:19:34 UTC 2006
On Tue, Nov 07, 2006 at 08:54:23PM +0100, Max Laier wrote:
> [ Not a native speaker ]
> On Tuesday 07 November 2006 19:55, Ceri Davies wrote:
> > On Tue, Nov 07, 2006 at 04:54:31PM +0000, Daniel Gerzo wrote:
> > > danger 2006-11-07 16:54:31 UTC
> > >
> > > FreeBSD doc repository
> > >
> > > Modified files:
> > > en about.sgml
> > > Log:
> > > - improve grammar
> > >
> > > | @@ -54,7 +54,7 @@
> > > | including CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, floppy disk, magnetic tape,
> > > | an MS-DOS® partition, or if you have a network
> > > | connection, you can install it <i>directly</i> over
> > > | - anonymous FTP or NFS. All you need is
> > > | + anonymous FTP or NFS. All you need are
> > > | <a
> > > |
> > > | href="&base;/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install.html">these
> > > | directions</a>.</p>
> > This change isn't correct - "these directions" is the object of this
> > sentence and the verb "is" should agree with the subject "all you
> > need", which is singular.
> I was confused by this, can you tell me if the following sounds right?
> The subject is "All", "you need" is a relative clause (think "All (that)
> you need"). According to http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary/all the
> pronoun can be either singular or plural - depending on the part of the
> meaning you want to emphasis.
I don't think it's relative as it's not adding a subclause.
Section 5.64 of the CMS suggests that it's (in the terminology of the
CMS, of course) an indefinite pronoun, in that it "indefinitely
represents an object, usually one that [..] doesn't need specific
It then goes on to state that indefinite pronouns have number and are
usually singular when taken as the subject, but will sometimes carry
a plural sense. The example given for this is:
"Everyone understood the risk, but they were lured by promises of big
which I think is clearer given in the present:
"Everyone understands the risk, but they are lured by promises of big
So it seems that we're talking about whether the original sentence
carries a plural sense or not. I don't feel that it does, despite the
plurality of the object.
"Everyone needs these directions."
I'm down with this.
"All you need are these directions."
Still don't like it. Perhaps we should use something that John
mentioned, which is:
"These directions are all you need."
which I think sounds more affirmative and gets to the point (the
> > See sections 5.23 and 5.24 of the CMS.
> Forgive my ignorance, what is the CMS?
The Chicago Manual of Style. It's ~1000 pages of style information
used by The University of Chicago Press for their publications. It
contains a lot of information about typesetting, capitalisation in
headers, preferred spellings, citations, etc., and in American English
which is useful for those of us what speak proper. Not something you'll
read on the train, but useful in the reference section.
That must be wonderful! I don't understand it at all.
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